There’s a classic scene from Seinfeld where Jerry is on a plane and they hit turbulence. Flight attendants tell passengers to buckle up, and Jerry asks, “Can we go over the instructions again?” It hits at something we all know is true; most of us don’t listen to those safety instructions at the start of the flight.
We’re sending out last minute texts, taking selfies, filling out the crossword in the back of SkyMall, or sleeping. The instructions don’t seem important because we don’t think we’ll need them. But in an emergency, suddenly those instructions become vital and we wish we paid closer attention.
I’m sure you all heard about the recent tragedy aboard Southwest flight 1380. A piece of shrapnel from an engine explosion shot through one of the windows and the cabin rapidly lost pressure. Tragically, a woman was killed as she was sucked from her seat into that window.
Her name was Jennifer Riordan, a wife and mother of two, only 43 years old. It was absolutely awful and heartbreaking, and I pray that this article will in no way make light of what happened to her.
A picture from that flight revealed that adult passengers were wearing their oxygen masks the wrong way. They covered their mouths, but not their noses. It was embarrassing.
Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants said, “We give explicit instructions about what to do when that mask drops” and she was frustrated because so many passengers ignore those instructions. “We’re not there just to serve you a Coke. We’re there because we have certain safety functions we have to perform to keep the passengers in our care safe.”
Travel expert Bobby Laurie tweeted: “PEOPLE: Listen to your flight attendants! ALMOST EVERYONE in this photo today is wearing their mask WRONG. Put down the phone, stop with the selfies…and LISTEN.”
Question: how many people take God’s instructions seriously? God has sent us His Word. Jesus came to teach us God’s safety instructions to keep us from Hell. He told us things like, “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24). “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6). “Everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24).
Most people don’t listen to Jesus because they don’t think they need Him. Death seems so far away. Maybe Hell isn’t even real, right? Yet I wonder how many, like Seinfeld on that plane, will stand before God on judgment day begging Him to repeat the instructions. It won’t be funny then. It’ll just be tragic.
Jesus didn’t come to serve us a Coke. He came to give us life-saving instructions, even when it cost Him His life to do so.
We don’t know when our time will come. Jennifer Riordon had no idea her flight would end the way it did. Neither do we. “This is My Beloved Son, listen to Him!” (Mark 9:7)