On a recent flight, the flight attendant went through the “safety talk.” You know the part about “If there is a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the compartment above you. Pull down on the bag, secure the mask over your nose and mouth, and breathe normally. . . . If you are travelling with a small child or someone who needs assistance, secure your own mask first, before helping them.”
Wait a minute! Secure your own mask first? How often have we in Christian circles been told to put others first? You know, “Jesus, Others, Yourself = JOY.” Well, there are times when God may ask you to literally sacrifice your life for others, but in the course of daily life, taking care of your own legitimate needs may be the best way to help others in the long run.
For example, you might decide, “OK. Jesus first,” and choose that time to dig out your Bible for your daily devotion or get down on your knees to pray. Wait! What about the oxygen mask dangling before you? You might pass out reading your Bible and never get around to donning the mask – provided by the airline and the Lord for your well-being.
Or what if you decide to help others first? You just might pass out before getting the mask on your child. Then what help are you to anyone? Of course, you might want to pray and remind yourself of God’s Word, as you put on your own mask, and then help others. Your calm, faith-filled attitude and prompt actions may go a long way to helping in this situation.
Over the long haul, we may actually serve others better if we remember to “put on our own mask first.” Spending time with the Lord daily, being good stewards of our physical bodies, and learning to handle emotions in a godly way will go a long way in equipping us for effective service. Preaching to myself, but maybe a good reminder to you too as we begin this New Year.
By Mary Jo Nutting