by Tom Wacaster
Having never worn a parachute, and fortunately never having needed one, I don't know if I can appreciate what a paratrooper goes through in the exercise of his basic skills as a skydiver. While serving in the Coast Guard in Corpus Christi, it was my privilege to work in the field of aviation search and rescue. Those of us who went on search and rescue missions were never issued a parachute, never trained in the use of them, and seldom had one on board when we went out on search and rescue missions. I was told on one occasion that there were always a couple on board, but they were stored under the seats of the pilot and co-pilot (hmmm). I once asked one of my fellow workers if he felt a little uncomfortable flying several hundred miles out into the Gulf of Mexico not having a parachute. He answered in the negative, and then explained that the parachute was bulky, uncomfortable to wear, and interfered with movement around the plane. And, since it was not required that crew members wear the parachute seldom if ever would you find someone with one strapped to his back. I once read (some years after my discharge from the military) of a sign that hung over the door of a parachute preparation room which read, "If you ever need it, and don't have it, you ain't ever goanna need it again." In time of need it might be great to have one close by, but, hey, who needs it now? Until and unless an emergency arises, we'll just leave it stored under the seat. That, my friends, is what I mean by "parachute mentality." Do you suppose some members of the Lord's church have a "parachute mentality"? Think with me on this.
In every congregation there are a small number of Christians who are barely hanging on. There is little, if any, involvement in the work of the church. To them, AM worship is all that is required, and that only if something else does not interfere. Sunday morning Bible classes, Sunday evening worship, and Wednesday night are purely optional, and that only for the fanatical, right-wing fringe (which they want to avoid at all costs). Asked if Jesus were important they would answer in the affirmative. But if the truth were known, their definition of "important" is quite different than what God considers "important." The faithful, humble, serving child of God realizes that when he was baptized into Christ he "put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27). But that child of God with a "parachute mentality" perceives of Christ as bulky, uncomfortable to wear, and an interference to his free-moving life style that places a premium on business, pleasure, and self gratification. Jesus is stored under the pew at the local church building, ready to grab and strap to the back in time of emergency. But to wear it on a daily basis? Forget it! Sometimes I think we ought to hang a sign over the exit door on our buildings similar to the one referred to above. That sign might read something like this: "If you ever need Him, and don't have Him, you ain't never goanna need Him again." The Christian with the "parachute mentality" makes at least two fatal blunders. First, he thinks that Jesus is something you put on and off depending on your need. But you know as well as I do that Christianity is a daily walk. I read somewhere that Jesus said, "take up your cross daily...." Second, he thinks that God can be ignored and spurned when things are going well, and then immediately come to the rescue when things turn sour. If I read my Bible clearly it does not work that way. Dearly beloved, God wants your humble obedience and submission every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day of the year. It isn't that He needs you; it is that YOU need HIM! To think otherwise is to possess a "parachute mentality."