FCAP has entered its 45th year since its birth in 1971. The industry now is so very different than it was in 1971, and in actuality it is very different than it was just five years ago. The word change describes the current environment of the industry. On the corporate level we have seen change in leadership in many of the airlines. Sadly, some of the changes in the leadership have not helped. The failure of leadership to see their responsibility beyond profit making has lead to a travesty in the example of leadership. Yet we must not look too quickly at one another before looking at our own hearts and attitudes. More than ever people, even God’s people, are working for selfish ambitions with little or no concern for God’s glory or for the concern of other people. Certainly individuals should consider making wise decisions for the future when considering the state of their airline. This is not the selfish ambition we are talking about. Rather it is a prevalent attitude that projects a pious mindset that we should not have to face any problems. That attitude thinks God never wanted these troubles for our life, for He only promised us the best. People will flock in great numbers to meetings with such messages. However, it could not be further from the truth of God. Such thinking not only brings sourness in our lives but it also robs us of experiencing His peace and joy in the midst of tribulation (John 16:33). It can also paralyze us from fulfilling God’s calling on our lives, which was given to us by Christ Himself, that is to go out as sheep among wolves into this world (Matthew 10:16) and bring light into dark places (2 Corinthians 4:6).
There is a divine strategy in the way God calls His people to go out into the world. He sends them as weak creatures out into a hostile world. If we do not understand why, then we will miss the purpose of our mission as the people of God. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus is about to commission or send out the disciples. He tells them the road will be hard with difficulties and dangers. Then he uses this word picture to describe His point. He said “I am sending you, as sheep among wolves.” We all know what wolves desire to do to sheep. They want to devour them. We know that wolves run in a pack, and they do so in order to hunt stray sheep for food. They will even try and break up a flock by creating a commotion in order to prey on them. Christ’s analogy is stunning. Here He is saying to His disciples that their commission to go out into the world is likened to their being sheep sent out to be among wolves.
Without taking the analogy too far, let us just look at this peculiar calling for a moment. Sending sheep, which are weak and helpless in and of themselves, among wolves that are in packs waiting to devour, is everything but a pleasant, comfortable assignment. The fact is such a calling can be rather disturbing. The reason for that calling is not to show the world how strong we are, as though we are helping God out. Nor are we sent like this to be devoured or overcome. Rather it is to show how weak we are and how God can help us in such humble situations (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). You see, our calling as Christians to go out into the world is not to show how tough we are. Rather it is to show how God can strengthen us in our weak and difficult circumstances (Philippians 4:13,19). When authentic Christianity is demonstrated in the details of our everyday life and work, it will not be a show of our human strength, but rather a show of God’s strength and power in us as we confess our weakness and our need of His resources.
God’s strategy is much different than the world’s strategy. The world wants to put on a big show of strength and power in order to display its abilities. But God, on the other hand, likes to send weak people into situations that are way beyond their own strength, so that they will call on Him for strength. This strategy will bring change that has eternal dividends. Look at how the Apostle Paul depicts the message of the cross in 1 Corinthians 1:18-27. It seemed weak and came through humble ways and means. However, its effects produce the power of God in the lives of those who were touched by it (2:1-4). Someday the whole world will see the greatest demonstration of God’s power when Christ returns. In the meantime, God wants to show His strength through the people who humbly see their weakness and who draw on His enabling resources (2 Corinthians 4:7-10). This is authentic Christianity and ministry. The genuineness of the Christian faith is certainly spoken of in the words of truth in the Bible, but it will only be authenticated in your life when you experience it in the details of everyday living.
Today we face an industry and a world with the forecast of “turbulent skies ahead!” However, as God’s people, we have been called out into the world as sheep in the midst of wolves. Not so we will collapse under the pressures of these circumstances, but so that, through our relationship with God, we will experience His power in our lives in order to manifest to others the life of Jesus through us. There is a world needing to see the real Lord alive in our life and in our circumstances. Why not make your mind up to face your circumstances with a faith focused on the Lord? The Bible is full of stories about God’s people facing incredible odds, with Him leading them through their circumstances triumphantly. Not that they necessarily gained favor or things from this world, but they gained the beauty of a living relationship with the Almighty God, which was not earned but gained by faith in Him.
This is an opportune time for God’s people in the airline industry. Why? Because it is a time of great weakness for us, where the odds do not look in our favor. It is in such times and circumstances where God desires to show His strength on behalf of those who trust in Him (Isaiah 40: 28-31). If you have been waiting for the right circumstances to feel fit in fulfilling your calling as a Christian, you are looking at it the wrong way. God wants you to recognize that your fitness is found only in Him and that the present circumstances are His design for you to experience this extraordinary calling through Him.
(By Paul M. Curtas, General Director of FCAP.)