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Who Packs Your Parachute?

Looking for illustrations concerning friendship, I came across this wonderful example:

Charles Plumb was a US 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 had 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 at 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.  He 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. *

With our plane “shot down” due to our sins and headed for destruction in enemy territory, God sent Jesus to our rescue.  Jesus didn’t “pack our parachutes;” He is our Parachute.  Only He could pay the price for our sins so that we may “land” safely, not in enemy territory but in an eternal home in heaven.  He paid that price on the cross as He died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-41 Corinthians 15:1-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 1 Now I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, 2 by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures;

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).

To access that Parachute and enjoy the salvation and eternal life that He brings, we must place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31Acts 16:30-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.

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), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31Acts 17:30-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: 31 inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

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), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10Romans 10:9-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38Acts 2:38
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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).  Then, as long as we cling to the Parachute in trusting obedience, we will land safely (see 1 John 1:71 John 1:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

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When we were helpless and hopelessly lost, God “packed our Parachute,” and sent His Son to die on the cross so that we can be saved and live eternally with Him.

Won’t YOU “put on that Parachute” by trusting and obeying Him today?

— David A. Sargent

* “Who Packs Your Parachute” by Unknown Author as viewed at http://www.sermonillustrationlibrary.org

David A. Sargent