Let God Be the Face of All You Do
- Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I recently saw an old bumper sticker, and I had to laugh. It read, “God is my Co-Pilot.”
I don’t mean to offend anyone who may have this sticker on their car, but isn’t this sort of saying “I believe in God, and he’s in my life (or car), but I’m doing the driving”?
When this slogan first appeared many years ago, I understood what the original intent was, but as I consider it further, I find it speaks directly to what I often struggle with every day and from moment to moment—allowing God to have total control of every situation in my life, not just when I want to take a break, stretch my legs or can’t handle it.
Shouldn’t God be the Pilot of our lives?
Nothing against co-pilots, they play a necessary and vital role. Co-pilots are often the ones who chart the course, check the upcoming weather conditions, verify the weight and balance of the aircraft, and are there to assist in case of emergency.
One of the most respected co-pilots of recent time is Jeffrey Skiles. For those who don’t immediately recognize that name it’s because he was overshadowed a bit by the pilot of US Air flight 1549 en route to Charlotte, NC on January 15, 2009—Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.
First Officer Jeffrey Skiles was actually piloting the plane on takeoff when it was struck by a flock of birds causing both engines to fail. As he tried to restart the engines, Sullenberger simply stated, “My aircraft” and took command of the plane, to which Skiles responded, “Your aircraft.”
Captain Sullenberger leveled off the plane, since it was in an ascent, and Skiles began reading through the emergency procedures. Minutes later, after considering the weather and mechanical conditions, location of the aircraft in relation to nearby airports and the best options available to him, Captain Sullenberger landed the crippled aircraft safely in the Hudson River.
What a perfect example for our own lives. What do you do when you hear God say, “My plans”?
Do you instantly respond, “Your plans,” yield control and immediately look into his Word? Or do you say, “That’s okay, I can handle it” or “I’d rather do it my way,” until it’s not working anymore and then dump it on God (or “dump on God” for not getting you out of the situation)?
Maybe we just ignore his voice altogether.
If you read or hear of the account of the flight from Captain Sullenberger, he is very matter of fact about the situation with little emotion. He calmly describes his thought process, the evaluation he made, and decision based upon what he felt was the best choice for maximum survival in that circumstance.
That’s how I want everyday situations and emergencies taken care of in my life.
Captain Sullenberger is quick to point out in his book, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, and numerous interviews and speaking engagements since, there were many heroes on that day which led to no loss of life. However, whenever the event is discussed from this day forward, Captain Sullenberger, the pilot, will always be the face of the miracle.
Isn’t that how we should be living our lives? So that any good deed or miracle we are a part of exemplifies God in us and not so much of us.
But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on" (Mark 12:42-44).
I have often wondered about characters in the Bible about whom very few words are written, similar to this woman. Where was she from? How long has it been since her husband died? Where was the rest of her family? How did she reach this point in her spiritual life where she would give all that she had to the work of God?
What I find most intriguing is her anonymity. This woman is not spoken of anywhere else in Scripture and we know nothing more about her, yet her story continues to resonate thousands of years later as the ultimate example of spiritual obedience and generosity.
Her actions seem to be so contradictory to how our world operates today. Taking nothing away from those who generously give to charities of all kinds, however the inspiration to do so is sometimes for what we get back in return.
Corporations give millions of dollars a year to have their identity connected to an event or seldom-used stadium. Many give millions of dollars in return to have their name placed on a building or facility, others give money to have their name engraved on a brick placed along a walkway, and others still give in exchange for a piece of product.
Once again, these are all fine acts of giving, but the lesson Jesus taught was both of sacrificial giving and of anonymity.
I wonder if we weren’t told of the woman’s name or her identity so we wouldn’t “raise her up” as we are often prone to do with those who “do good.” If we knew more about her, some would probably name their children after her, organizations would use her name in their titles, and we would soon lose focus of the heart and reason behind the deed in order to focus on her.
Simply put, the major deterrent to living out a life of sacrifice is oftentimes us. We get in the way due to our need and desire to be acknowledged and praised for what we do, to have control of every situation, and for it to be more about us rather than him.
Shine out his light and don’t worry about having it shine on you.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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