“Who’s parachute are you packing?”

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

Charles Plum, US Naval Academy graduate, flew jet fighters off the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War. On his 75th mission, a SAM (surface-to-air missile) destroyed his plane. Plum ejected, parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years in a Communist prison. He survived that ordeal and now spends time lecturing on lessons he learned during that experience.

One day while sitting with his wife in a restaurant, a man from another table walked over and said, “You’re Plum! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam off the Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” Asked Plum. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plum gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man grabbed his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plum assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

All mature Christians know, no one makes it successfully through life alone. They keep a grateful heart and are quick to acknowledge those who helped them succeed. They also know every person you step on during your climb to the top, not to expect their hand out to help break your fall on the way back down. At some point, everyone needs someone else to pack his or her chute.

There’s no such thing as a self-made man. Any man who tries it is usually a self-made mess and everyone around him is miserable. George Adams said, “Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the makeup of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.” Make yourself indispensable to others as some have made themselves to you.

“We have no more right to put our discordant states of mind into the lives of those around us and rob them of their sunshine and brightness than we have to enter their houses and steal their silverware.” Julia Seton

In 1969, the Hollies recorded a song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” Father Flanagan, founder of Boys Town in Nebraska, used those words originally recorded in 1884 by James Wells in his book, “The Parables of Jesus.”

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens.” This scripture means, stand should to shoulder and share the burdens of life, especially on the days when those close to you cannot pack their own chute!

By government mandate we may have to be physically distant, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be relationally connected. Don’t let six feet and a mask hinder your love for people. During this national crisis find someone who needs help packing their chute.