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Who’s Flying the Plane?

A photographer from a well know national magazine was assigned to cover the fires at Yellowstone National Park. The magazine wanted to show some of the heroic work of the fire fighters as they battled the blaze. When the photographer arrived, he realized that the smoke was so thick that it would seriously impede or make it impossible for him to photograph anything from ground level. He requested permission to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved, and arrangements were made. He was told to report to a nearby airport where a plane would be waiting for him.

He arrived at the airport and saw a plane warming up near the gate. He jumped in with his bag and shouted, “Let’s go!” The pilot swung the little plane into the wind, and within minutes they were in the air. The photographer said, “Fly over the park and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures.” “Why?” asked the pilot.  “Because I am a photographer,” he responded, “and photographers take photographs.” The pilot was silent for a moment. Finally, he stammered, “You mean you’re not the flight instructor?”

The question as the article is entitled is one that we need to ask ourselves spiritually. It aims to the core of who is actually controlling us. It is quite frightening to think that the pilot-in-training and the photographer were up in the air all of the sudden and quite quickly after take-off found themselves in a bad situation. This goes to reason as to why it is so important that we know who is guiding us is one that is trusted to do just that, guide and direct us safely in the path that we should go.

Jesus spoke of a parable in Luke 6:39-40 where He said: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”

This parable that Jesus gives is so plain and simple. Jesus is giving a warning to be careful as to who we allow to guide us. In consideration of the context, it certainly appears that Jesus is alluding to the danger of following the scribes and the Pharisees, especially as they had the appearance of being righteous, however their actions demonstrated differently. If you go to Matthew 23 you will find Jesus referred to the scribes and the Pharisees as those who “say but don’t do” (23:3). Jesus would pronounce numerous woes to the scribes and Pharisees, calling them “hypocrites” and also “blind guides.” Jesus even pronounced a woe to the scribes and Pharisees who would “travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (23:15). Although the scribes and Pharisees would zealously and diligently seek out Gentiles to convert to Judaism, those converted would be in worse condition than they were before.

The scribes and Pharisees were certainly blind spiritually. Although they had the word of the Lord and could profess it, they didn’t possess it. There’s a difference there. As to why Jesus is found calling them blind, because they were not handling aright the word of God. Although claiming to have it, they would not apply it properly and thereby distort it for their own benefits (cf. 23:4-8,13-28).

Although the scribes and Pharisees were considered religious leaders of their day, they were noted to be self-deceived and hypocritical, as to why Jesus makes the note that one must choose the one who guides them wisely. In Luke 6:40, Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” Jesus emphasized the importance of the one chosen to guide, direct and teach.

As in the story at the beginning of the article, it’s important as to who is flying the plane. Neither the pilot-in-training nor the photographer were adequate to guide and navigate the plane safely. They both were putting their lives in the hands of each other and unfortunately, they found themselves in a bind. This will have ill-effects, yea disastrous if we are not careful in who is guiding and directing us.

The apostle Paul made it clear that the One who was directing and guiding his life was Jesus Christ. Paul was being trained by the Master teacher and would in turn influence others. Paul told the Corinthian brethren, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

May we always be aware of who is in the spiritual cockpit of our lives and who is at the controls?

2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 😊

About Author

DJ Dickerson

Evangelist | La Porte Church of Christ

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