July 23, 2014
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
When I was first in the ministry, I found myself deeply indebted to one of the brothers in my western South Dakota circuit. When I stopped by to visit and thank him, he said something I have never forgotten. He told me, "Ken, the Lord hasn't given me as many gifts as He has given some of the brethren, but I do believe He has given me a finely honed sense of ethics."
Since that time, I have seen other people who have also been given that "finely honed sense of ethics." One such person has to be Gerhard Brandner. Now, you and I probably have never met Brandner, but he does have a story worth hearing.
Brandner is a pilot for Frontier Airlines. Recently, he was piloting a plane traveling from Washington to Denver. Because of storms which were bombarding Denver, he was instructed to land his plane in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and wait for Colorado's weather to clear.
The wait lasted several hours.
Sometime during that wait Brandner realized he was hungry and ordered a pizza. Then, believing his passengers were just as hungry, he increased the order to somewhere around 40 pizzas ... and he paid for them himself.
Now if you're wondering where the finely honed sense of ethics comes in, you should know it's not in ordering pizzas. No, to find Brandner's ethics, you need to hear why he ordered those pizzas. He said, "If the need arises, you need to take care of your family; you need to take care of your passengers. They are my responsibility the moment they step on the aircraft until they get off the aircraft."
Now it is my belief that every pilot has a desire to make sure his passengers make it safely from point A to point B. But it is a unique skipper who knows his responsibility goes beyond the time his plane is in the air. If more pilots had such a finely honed sense of ethics, we might not hear some of the airline horror stories that we do.
This leads me to ask, why just pick on the pilots?
Why not include government officials or medical personnel or, well, any of us?
How many churches would grow; how many programs would move forward; how many souls would be touched by the gracious story of salvation through the Savior's sacrifice, if all of God's people had a finely honed sense of ethics? How wonderfully blessed would be our fellowship together in worship if all of us accepted the responsibility to do what was right for our brothers and sisters in the faith and for those this day, who have no faith?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant the things I do and say may be of benefit to my neighbor and bring glory to my Savior. May I see and hear Your call and then respond appropriately. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
The Savior asked His followers to share His story of salvation. Sadly, doing so can be frightening and intimidating. If you would like to learn how to be more comfortable fulfilling the Lord's request, Lutheran Hour Ministries is holding a SENT Outreach Conference in Detroit, covering the dates of July 24-27. For more information, see www.lhm.org/conference.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries