My family is a musical family. Not musically talented, far from it. We attend, talk about and listen to the soundtracks of musicals. I’m not sure exactly when that happened or how it happened, but it did. I must have missed that vote or email blast because it caught me off guard. I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about it yet.
It started with my parents getting season tickets to see musicals in Charlotte. Yeah, I didn’t know you could do that either. That led to a family Christmas present the last two years of tickets to see a musical, and a birthday gift for Jill and I to see another show this year. On top of that my parents now have not one, but two sets of season tickets to see musicals in Charlotte and Greensboro. That’s like having season tickets to two different NFL teams' games.
Anyway, I say all of that to say my wife, Jill and I were given tickets to go see Come From Away a few weeks ago. It is actually a really interesting, and true, story about a small town called Gander in Newfoundland. Before technology on aircrafts allowed them to fly as far as they can now, they would have to stop at this large airport in Gander before crossing the Atlantic Ocean or as they were coming into North America to get more fuel. Gander is only a town of about 9,000 people so as technology improved and that stop became unnecessary for most planes, air traffic dramatically slowed leaving this town with what once was one of the largest airports in the world.
Then on September 11, 2001, the United States closed our airspace and planes in the air heading to the States from across the Atlantic needed a place to land. 38 planes were sent to Gander with a total of about 7,000 people on board. At the time no one knew exactly what was happening or when we would reopen our airspace. So this town of 9,000 people had to figure out what to do with 7,000 “come from away’s”.
For what ended up being 5 days, these people from Gander housed, fed and took care of these people from all over. They opened up their homes, cancelled school so 700 people could stay in classrooms, they gave donated supplies like toothbrushes and toothpaste, water, toilet paper, pillows, and blankets. Stores donated food, diapers, and other supplies. Pharmacies filled prescriptions, vets cared for pets on board the planes and businesses closed so their employees could volunteer. They put their lives on hold for complete strangers with absolutely no warning or plan in place.
We have been going through a series called “LIFE ON MISSION”. We have talked about how our mission should be to be intentional about showing Jesus to those in our spheres of influence who do not have a relationship with Him, by praying for them and having spiritual conversations with them.
Now there are not many, if any, of us who can say we have nailed this “Living life on Mission” thing down. Maybe we know how to do that and have bought in, but there are still people in our spheres of influence who we aren’t intentional enough with about introducing them to Jesus. There are several different reasons we all say this.
For some it is because it is awkward. For others it is about lack of time. Some don’t feel that they are equipped to have these spiritual conversations with others.
Whatever the reason is for you, let me ask you a question: How much do you value that person in your sphere of influence that doesn’t know Jesus yet? If you value that person enough, you’ll probably be able to find the time. If you value them enough, you won’t care so much about how awkward it might be to tell them how Jesus changed your life. If you value them enough, you might put your life on hold so that they can find Jesus.
I don’t know that I would be willing to just drop everything at a moments notice for 7,000 strangers who were overtaking my small town. I’d like to think that I would react the same way and place the same value on those strangers that the people in Gander did almost 19 years ago, but I don’t think you could really know unless you were there.
I do know that I need to value those in my life who don’t know Jesus more than I do. Everyday I make selfish decisions that get no one in my life closer to knowing Jesus Christ. Too often I miss opportunities to have spiritual conversations.
I hope that we all can strive to live our life on mission and place more value on those in our spheres of influence who are far from God and need a savior in their life.