Today our pastor likened Christian life to flying a helicopter.
It’s not much of a stretch, and it’s not all that amazing a metaphor - probably a couple hundred people have used it before. However, one thing that did seem really insightful to me was that the pastor correlated all the people in the back of that helicopter to my Christian life.
So here’s the basic metaphor: can you fly a helicopter? (For all you pilots out there, hush up.) So if you can’t fly a helicopter, would you climb up front, during a flight, and tell the pilot to scram, that you’re taking over? For the pilots, would you tolerate some passenger climbing up front (or even just getting on the intercom) and telling you to move aside, they can do a better job?
So my life is that helicopter. And I’m (for the purposes of the scenario) not qualified to fly it. I have 0 hours in the NS-86 helicopter. But there’s this guy, Christ, who has a bazillion hours in every helicopter ever made. And He’s flying. And then, sometimes, when I’m off track, I try to climb up there and push Him out, make Him a copilot or a passenger or parachutist.Those times invariably end up with me screaming, “Emergency you have the controls!” and pleading with Him to get it flying again.
So I can screw things up pretty poorly for myself and my life by trying to be the pilot-in-command. But here’s the thing: I can also screw up the lives of anyone who’s riding along, or happens to be in the area where I finally crash and/or explode. If I have a midair collision, that’s not just my life that gets messed up. I have everyone around me to think about as well. If you ever go to flight school, chances are you’ll get a “white scarf” speech at some point. Basically, it goes like this: When you put on that white scarf, you’re taking responsibility for the lives of everyone aboard, and everyone on the ground below your route. No one else will fly that aircraft but you, so you’ve got to be the cool, calm, competent aviator. That’s what it means to wear the white scarf.
It holds true in the helicopter-life metaphor as well. Christ has a perfect white scarf; He’s the calm, competent aviator. We’re the nutcases in the back who somehow fall into the deception that we know what’s right more than He does. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust God rather than ourselves. That’s not just to save us, in our (helicopter) lives, but for everyone around us as well. Our spouses, children, friends, local churches, parents, extended families, work buddies… they are all affected by our lives. II Corinthians 6:3-4 tells us to commend ourselves as servants to God, so that the ministry will not be harmed. I Corinthians 8:9 - indeed, the entire chapter - speaks to being perfect for the sake of our brothers, echoing Romans 14:13 and Matthew 18:7… right back to Matthew 5:19.
Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
I was inspired by a post from Penny Arcade (not a great Christian site, I know) some years ago to create this… it’s a visual reminder that Christ should be in command, not just for our good but for that of everyone around us.