The Chairman’s Club

I am on the flight returning home to Indy this afternoon and I am sitting in seat 6D. That’s somewhat near the front of the plane, on the aisle, on the starboard side. I can see the passengers up in first class getting their drinks and snacks while I am sitting here wedged behind a woman who is pushing back into my seat and has hair that looks like it hasn’t been washed in a while. I know she thinks that she is stylish, but I assure you that is not the case.

On my right, in the window seat, is a gentleman from Carmel who has engaged me in pleasant conversation until we put on our Bose headphones and broke out our electronics once we hit 10,000 feet. Now I am caught up writing about the day and in my own little world; hoping that nobody can look over my shoulder and see what I am writing about – at least not yet.

When we land, I will head back home and spend the evening with Janet, our daughter Jill, who is still visiting from Oklahoma, and her son, Drew. But for now, I keep glancing up at those large seats in front, wishing I was there. Make no mistake, I tried to get upgraded, but compared to some of these frequent fliers, I’m a piker. Many folks fly more than 120 segments, or legs, a year. Last year, in 2011, I only flew 16 on USAir – not nearly enough to allow me to re-qualify for the Silver status I now have that will expire on Feb. 28th. That means that I will lose my ability to use the express lanes at the security checkpoints, I will move to the back of the plane for seating, I will no longer have the possibility of a complimentary upgrade to first class and several other lesser perks that aren’t that important to me anyway.

Today, when I arrived at the airport, I went to the USAir lounge, hoping to find out more about how to retain my status for 2012. For $789, I can extend my status until Feb. 28, 2013. But I was advised that to reliably ensure that that I could get the perks I am desiring, it would be better if I would upgrade past Silver, Gold and Platinum levels to the Chairman’s Club – joining the elite ranks of frequent fliers who generally log more than 120 segments, or more than 100,000 miles with USAir each year.

You see, it’s usually these people who get the first class upgrades, and they get them a week in advance of their scheduled flights, so there is no waiting around till the last minute wondering where you at going to be seated. The cost for the Chairman’s Club? Hope you’re sitting down – only $2999. That’s right – one dollar less than $3000 – for one year of membership. That’s a little out of my range, if you know what I mean. But boy, I would love to be able to do it – especially since I will probably have to use this airline for all my travel to Dallas and Phoenix this year. But that’s dreaming.

The reality is that I will have to earn my segments the regular way – accumulating them one or two at a time hoping that I have enough to get my Silver status again next year. There is some talk around the airports about USAir making an offer to buy American Airlines out of Chapter 11, and that would be great for me, but we’ll have to see. That way, all my travel could be on one airline and that would make it easier to achieve the preferred status.

The last several days, I have done quite a bit of thinking about God and salvation and all things connected to those issues. Once again. I realize that Christ doesn’t make us jump through hoops to determine what “level” we will achieve. In fact, He makes it quite clear that we all can have the same status – and that is free. One you accept the gift that is freely offered by God, everybody has the same great seats. Now I don’t mean that there is no first class – I mean that everybody goes first class – and there is no coach section. That’s correct – we all travel first class with God.

Based on the way that we do things here on earth, that’s a little tough to fathom. But it’s true. First class all the way with God. The verse tonight is probably the most famous verse in the whole Bible; and that is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him shall never die, but will have everlasting life.” It’s that simple – just believe. No cost – no hoops to jump through. Just believe that Jesus is the Son of God and you’re in first class – for all eternity.

My encouragement today is that if you haven’t already done so, you will consider upgrading. And if you’re already in first class, that you will help others to get there. My prayer is that you will depend on God to see you through the turbulent times. Because we aren’t told that we will always have a smooth flight – but God does promise that we will never be alone and that He will see us safely to our eternal destination. And that’s the most important thing we can ever hope for. With God as our captain, we’re all members of the Chairman’s Club. And it doesn’t even cost you a dime….. Grace and peace……


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