A Guy Can't Just Sit Around

“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

Matthew 23:11

Sometimes in life we take risks, some are wise and others, well, not so much. Take July 2, 1982 when Larry Walters strapped on a parachute, loaded himself to his Lawnchair tethered to helium balloons, holding on tight to his lunchbox of sandwiches; a can of soda, a camera, a CB radio, and most of all, a pellet gun, and prepared to launch himself into the sky. His intention was to fly from Long Beach California into the Mojave Desert, and then use his pellet gun to shoot out the balloons one by one, allowing him to come safely back to earth.

His calculations didn’t go so well. Instead of rising slowly his helium Lawnchair shot up to 16,000 feet in just a matter of minutes drifting into controlled airspace over the Los Angeles International Airport and into the path of incoming commercial aircraft. Walters used his CB radio to call air traffic control and warn them of his situation. Two commercial pilots saw him and reported to air traffic controllers and the Federal Aviation Administration that there was a UFO, a person in a Lawnchair floating by at 16,000 feet. Try to envision that radio transmission.

When Larry Walters began shooting out balloons to land he eventually made it back to earth getting tangled in some power lines along the way causing a temporary power outage. When he was arrested by local police the first thing he said to the arresting officers was, “a guy cant just sit around.”  

Like many of you I am feeling restless today, like I can’t just sit around and do nothing. Like you, I am trying to figure out how life will be if we as a society are quarantined in our homes, isolated from one another for an extended period of time in an all out attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I am humbled as I am reminded that Christian’s all through out history have determined to not isolate themselves in the face of sorts of natural disasters and sit around and do nothing but instead have risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel in both the face of invisible enemies like plagues and viruses and various disease. Many Christians have stood facing physical enemies who sought to end the spread of the Gospel message through martyrdom. Countless believers through the ages have died for the cause of Christ to ensure that the Gospel message got out. There are some things not only worthy of risking our lives for but for giving or laying down our lives for. I think we’d agree this is what Jesus meant when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends” (John 15:13).  

In light of the Corona virus it’s important to know that God wants to use each of us to help others.  God doesn’t want us to sit around and do nothing so to speak if we are able. He doesn't want to just take us through this crisis. God doesn't want to just protect us through this crisis. God wants to use our lives through this crisis. This is the difference between how believers and others face times of uncertainty, times like these that are filled with fear, sorrow and pain. And yes, even death. God never wastes a hurt, loved one. Every crisis is an opportunity to bring glory to God. Remember, “Your life is God’s gift to you. What you do with your life is your gift to God.”

So, even with social distancing and mandatory quarantines in place we must never forget that every need in our world is an open door for the believer. Colossians 4:2-3 reminds us, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains”
Every pain, every hurt, habit, and hang up is an open door to find a need and fill it, to find a hurt and heal it.  

Think back a few thousand years ago when the Black Plague, the Bubonic Plague, ran rampant throughout the Roman Empire and no one knew the source of origin. Viruses were unheard in those days and they didn't know much about bacteria or infectious disease. They didn't posses the scientific technology we have today, and sadly, millions, and millions, and millions of people were dying in the cities. It was called the Black Plague. In pure pandemonium people began to flee from the city thinking that maybe the cities themselves were the source of the plague. They were literally running for their lives.

And how do you think Christians in that day responded? They didn’t flee the cities but instead came from a far and moved into the cities to care for the sick, and that's how the Roman Empire was converted to the Christian faith. Roman citizens saw up close and personal believers faith in action and confessed, "See how they love one another." And just as Christians moved into the midst of a plague that was obliterating the Roman Empire, without the advantages of modern medicine available, men and women willingly risked their lives for the sake of the gospel, which included giving up of their lives for the sake of others. Don’t miss the point. Understand that God has not called us to live presumptuously but prayerfully. We are all immortal until the moment God is done with us this side of heaven and calls us home to be with Him. So, instead of being fearful, be prayerful, be safe, but remain available to be used of God to minister to those around you that are in need. None of us has to look far. Remember the words of Larry Walter’s today, “a guy cant just sit around”.

“Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.”

Titus 3:14



Michael Osthimer





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