Riding in the Jumpseat

None of us know how much time God has given us. The Bible makes that very clear:

Job said, “A man’s days are determined; God has decreed the number of his months and has set limits he cannot exceed.”

In the 90th Psalm the Bible says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

James wrote in his epistle, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.”

And Jesus told a parable about a rich man who one day decided to take life easy and live off of the wealth he had accumulated. But God said to the man, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.”

As a maintenance mechanic for the airline I work for, we can ride up front with the pilots in the cockpit jumpseat if no seats are available in the back. And on three recent occasions, I had to ride in the jumpseat due to full flights, though it wasn’t a new experience. The very first time I got to sit up front with the pilots was about twenty years ago on a flight from Amarillo to Dallas/Fort Worth, back when I still worked for Delta. Being that’s it’s a former Air Force base, Amarillo’s airport has a nice 13,000 foot long runway.  There must have been over a mile of runway in front of us when the plane’s wheels lifted off the ground so you didn’t get the sense of running out of room on the takeoff roll.

Dallas Love Field is a different story. As we started our takeoff roll from Love Field, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly the runway in front of us started getting shorter: I mean, it was getting really short…really fast! Unlike Amarillo, when the plane left the ground, it was only a matter of seconds before we passed over the end of the runway.

I mention all of this because riding in the jumpseat made me think of a recent sermon in which the pastor of my church spoke of the need to reach unsaved people in their 60s and 70s and 80s because people in those age groups, quite frankly, don’t have many years left. The number of years in front of them is less than the number of years behind them. In a manner of speaking, the runway is getting short and I don’t mean that to be humorous in any way because our pastor was right on the money when he said we need to be reaching out to unsaved elderly people. They really don’t have much time left, and that’s simply being truthful.

But this can be true regardless of a person’s age. That 25 year old who thinks he has his entire lifetime in front of him could be diagnosed with a terminal illness and be gone in a moment. It happens every day. The time to be reaching people for Christ is now! If you know of someone who is elderly and is not saved; a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or an uncle, or an elderly neighbor or friend, there needs to be a special sense of urgency as we reach out to them for Jesus Christ.

But let’s not forget, Jesus could return and take the church out of the world at any moment. We tend to think of the rapture of the church as something that might happen thirty years from now, or three hundred years from now. But it could happen before you finish reading your this blog. Each day that passes means we’re one day closer to Christ’s return! For those of us who are saved, that’s a glorious hope! But for the unsaved, each passing day means they are one day closer to having to go through the tribulation, and perhaps spending eternity separated from God. The majority of us have not been called to preach to large crowds of people, but all of us have been called to reach out to at least one person. Time is like the runway in front of a jetliner on its takeoff roll: It gets short real fast when you’re coming up to the end. So if God puts someone on your heart, don’t delay. Share the glorious news of Christ’s salvation with him or her as soon as you can, while there’s still time!