Soon after my son Mark took off on a freight run in the Cessna 310R, the HSI started wandering aimlessly. He was in instrument conditions and had some bad weather ahead, so he returned to home base.
Our mechanic checked things out and when he jiggled a wire at a connection in the system, the HSI came alive and functioned normally. That expensive instrument had become useless, and we missed a freight trip all because of one stupid little connection!
For the uninitiated, the HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) is an instrument which gives precise directional and navigational information. With such a gadget one can more easily and safely fly in poor weather.
I see many people struggling to find meaning and direction in life. We all wrestle with secret fears and insecurities. Our competitive nature and our need for approval keep us panting in an effort to "keep up with the Jones.”
Survival itself becomes success. Many become satisfied to swing yet another loan to buy another "something" – which they know in their hearts will soon produce another sorrow because it too will wither under the weight of its own worthlessness.
So it has always been, and so it will always be for those who look for "life" in the things of this world. We will wander aimlessly! As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:2, "Everything is meaningless, utterly meaningless!"
But that's not the last word! Jesus came, to break into this futility. To bring "life," that is, purpose, power and pleasantness to us. We understand first of all, that this relates to our salvation – the "sweet bye and bye." But it's more than that! It means being saved from the futility and meaninglessness of life in the nasty now and now. It means being lifted up by Jesus to a level far above the muck and mire and madness which so fill the hearts and lives of those who don't know Him.
It means that our few years on this earth are connected to the power and purposes of an eternal and all wise God Who has the last word about everything. One Who is moving in every event, in every place, in every moment toward His eternal purpose of calling men and women to Himself. And He has given to us the wonderful privilege of being part of that great effort!
It matters not if we are a preacher, painter or pilot. A teacher, teller or tool and die maker. A homemaker or a hay raker. A man or woman. Rich or poor. Tall or short. Skinny or - - -. It only matters that we are connected. It is that connection which brings direction and purpose to life.
I've done a lot of things over the years. I didn't feel more "spiritual" in my 13 years as a pastor, than when I was spraying forest with a DC-3. Or doing anything else I've done.
For eight years Elaine and I traveled back and forth to Kenya, three months here, three there, and so on. Marketing airplane parts for my sons in my time here, and training church leaders in Kenya the rest of the time were equally meaningful to me. How could that be? Simple! It was because both were connected to God's purposes. Each was what God had for me in that time. The most spiritual thing a person can ever do, is to do whatever God sets before you in any given moment.
There may be some things that we don't get to do, when we get connected and give ourselves to God's purposes. His career goals for us may be different than we had in mind. But be sure of this – nothing could possibly be more satisfying than what He has for us. Everything we give up is replaced by something better.
Many of my high school and college classmates have tons more "stuff" then me, but none can surpass the adventure and satisfaction I have known. Not one!! Many are bored, but I'm so filled with a sense of expectation about the future that I can hardly contain myself.
None of my former classmates has slept better than me over the years. Even the nights I laid on a blanket on a cold cement floor in Kenya with cockroaches crawling around me.
Not one has enjoyed better health, even though I spent years in a part of Africa with a very high AIDS population, drank "unsafe" water out of glasses that were merely rinsed with cold tap water, and ate off of plates that were "washed" in the same way.
I enjoyed my food there as much as my peers ever enjoyed theirs, even if there were some well cooked weevils mixed in with my corn and beans. Their food which was prepared in a posh hotel was no more nourishing than ours which was prepared in a Kenyan friends kitchen – after the chickens were shooed out and the poop scooped off of the cement counter top.
Because of my connection I've done many things that I couldn't do and have been deeply fulfilled. I've seen the hardest experiences in my life become the soil in which the best experiences of my life grew, and I wouldn't want to have done without any of them. I am grateful beyond measure. I have few regrets.
Trust me, I'm not crazy, I'm just "connected." And there's nothing special about me. I'm not some unique, chosen one. I'm certainly not tall, dark and handsome and I stutter some. But somewhere way back I believed Jesus when I heard Him say, "If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life." (Mark 8:35, NLT) I got connected, and you can too – no matter what stage of life you are at.