There are many people throughout our world that do great things to make our
living much better. I mention this because many times we rush through life
without acknowledging and showing appreciation for the things others do in
order to make our life easier. I think about the postal workers that work
tirelessly in delivering our mail. I think about the city workers that
spend many hours making our neighborhoods safer and more enjoyable to live
in. These are just a couple of the hundreds of jobs that go unnoticed and
unappreciated. I believe we need to take a few extra minutes throughout
our day to say "Thank You" to those that work so hard and yet get so little
recognition for their efforts.
As I have been thinking about showing appreciation for what others do for
us, I came across this story that really encouraged and inspired me to
focus more on the things others do to make our lives better. I hope you'll
be blessed and inspired as well by this true story of a Vietnam veteran
named Charles Plumb.
WHO PACKED YOUR PARACHUTE?
Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat
missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb
ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years
in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures
on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at
another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in
Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"
"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and
gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"
Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't
be here today." Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man.
Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy
uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I
wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good
morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot
and he was just a sailor."
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden
table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding
the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone
he didn't know. Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?"
Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the
day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when
his plane was shot down over enemy territory. He needed his physical
parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual
parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is
really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you,
congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them,
give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.
As you go through this week, this month, and this year recognize the
people who pack your parachute.
Let us be quick to recognize those people that strive to make our life
better. When we show our appreciation to those who have thankless jobs,
we will not only be encouraging them, but also showing them the love of
God through our life. Jesus said by loving others will all people know
that we are His disciples. (John 13:35)
I hope you have found inspiration in this story to encourage those who are
discouraged and be thankful to those who do not always see the fruit of
their labor. If you forget to show your thanks, simply imagine yourself
in that person's position and think of how you yourself would like to be
shown the simple act of being appreciated.
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Matthew 25:37-40 Jesus says, "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying,
'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You
drink? 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and
clothe You? 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did
it to Me.'"
1 Timothy 2:1-4 "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for
kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable
life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in
the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come
to the knowledge of the truth."
Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus declares, "You are the light of the world. A city
that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put
it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are
in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
John 13:34-35 Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this
all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
All scriptures can be found in the New King James Version.
If you'd like to learn more about Charles Plumb, you are welcome to visit
these Web sites to learn of his life and what he went through in Vietnam.
In Christ's Service,
Gods Work Ministry