I was going to miss my connection flight.
Over the course of a year, that could happen well over a hundred times in my travel for the Church. Yet on this day, it was going to be a reality. I only had fifteen minutes to complete a twenty-minute walk before my next flight closed its door. Much to my hurried surprise, a distinguished gentleman met me on the jet bridge as I was exiting. He asked my name. I told him. He then told me to follow him. We went out the grounds crew door of the ramp, down the metal stairs, and onto the tarmac. He opened the door of a black SUV and explained to me that he was driving me to my connecting flight. We darted between parked and moving airliners until we arrived at the other end of the airport. He escorted me up that plane’s jet bridge steps and onto my flight home. When I explained to him that I did not have a boarding pass because of a computer glitch, he said, “You are with me. You don’t need a pass.” Two minutes later, my flight pushed back and I was on my way home.
In all of my travels through the years, I have never experienced or even heard of such happenings. The name on my angel’s sport coat said, Elite Services. I’ve thought a lot about what that man did for my benefit. He lifted every bit of stress I had for missing my flight and the nightmare that often ensues while trying to get rebooked and home the same day. There are many lessons I could apply to the kindnesses we should afford family and friends. Many first impression ministries could benefit from using the details of my tarmac adventure as a case study in how to treat people who worship on our church campuses.
Yet the image I always think of when reflecting on this story is that of Jesus himself. Through his grace, Jesus does things for us that we do not deserve. He is our ultimate guide in life. He shows us the way by having gone in the way of God the Father himself. He is our “boarding pass” into abundant life, now and into eternity. With him, we don’t need to worry about a thing. He meets us where we are and guides us to where we need to go. He’s always on time. And he knows exactly what we need.
It might seem trite to compare an airline employee to Jesus. I agree. Yet the grace of Christ is available each day to all who are willing to look and listen for the leadership of Jesus in the events of life. I have missed many flight connections when traveling. I pray daily for open ears and eyes to fully experience the good graces of Christ’s work in all places and times. Today, I would like to think of Christ’s work in my life as Elite Services!
Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.