I travel on airplanes a lot, mostly internationally, and I usually request a seat with more legroom because I am quite tall and a regular economy seat is just too small for me, especially on longer flights. So I am willing to pay a higher price for a more comfortable seat. Recently I was upgraded to business class (first class on most aircraft nowadays) on a 10 hour flight back to Atlanta from Rome and I felt truly blessed to get a better class of service with even more comfort for such a long flight. My status as a regular frequent flyer with Delta was the reason, as well as an overbooked economy section, I suspect.
In the airline industry today there are generally 4 classes of service: Basic Economy (no frills), Regular Economy, Economy Comfort, and First Class. Each passenger has the option to choose which class of service they want to purchase. Of course, the price goes up for each class of service. Additionally, passengers in economy class on some airlines now pay for other services they may desire, such as snacks, drinks, baggage, specific seating, boarding priority, etc., especially on domestic flights. But I am also noticing this more and more on domestic and international flights in other countries as well. The point is that we all make choices on how we want to travel when we fly somewhere.
It got me to thinking about our spiritual life and how similar it is to choosing how we like to fly. As Christians, when we are on our faith journey and traveling with God, which spiritual “class of service” do we choose?
Do we like the basic economy, no frills sort of faith journey where we acknowledge God and Jesus as our savior but don’t really care about any of the extras he offers, like worship, prayer, serving others or sharing our faith? We can still rest in the knowledge that Jesus dies for our sins and we are saved by faith, but as James 2:17 says, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” In other words, traveling with God in a “no frills” way results in a life that is missing out on the blessings and abundance of God. You still arrive at your destination but it’s far less enjoyable than it could be.
What if our faith journey is like regular economy? That seems to be the place that most people start when they fly somewhere. They want to get to their destination and still enjoy a few benefits. And that’s likely true for a Christian’s faith journey as well. Our faith provides for our salvation and we likely attend church and go to worship, but that’s it. Like the airplane traveler we are content to have our seat and entertainment while on the journey but not much else. When traveling with God in a “regular economy” way we don’t get to experience the joy and blessings that come from prayer, serving others and sharing our faith. As a result, our faith journey becomes mundane and less exciting than what it could be.
I regularly fly economy comfort class (for the extra legroom) and I’ve wondered if some travelers even consider it because there are often empty seats in this section of the plane. If someone is tall or would just like more room and better service I would think they too would want to be in this section. Those that do choose to fly economy comfort are aware of the extra benefits (more legroom, free drinks, early boarding, etc.) and they are happy to pay the extra fee for them. Similarly, those who choose to travel with God in an “economy comfort” way recognize the benefits of prayer, serving others and witnessing their faith. And they receive the blessings and joy that come from them. But they also know there is something more. The economy comfort traveler can see ahead into first class and knows that there is another way to travel that has even more room, higher quality meals, better service, and is the most comfortable and best way to travel. If everyone could fly first class they certainly would!
On many of the international flights I fly the first class section is not always full, mostly because of the high price. Its cost is often 5 times higher than regular economy. Many travelers just cannot afford the cost. Traveling with God in a “first class” way also carries with it a high price. But the cost is not money – it’s our time and our priorities. Jesus said in Luke 14:33, “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Like many airline travelers, most Christians do not choose to travel “first class” with God because of the high cost, often settling for something less. Traveling “first class” with God means giving up our desires and instead living our life for Him and serving others. It also means being a minister and missionary for Him wherever we go. According to Jesus it’s the only way to truly experience the abundant life God has for each of us. It’s also the best way for us as Christians to live out our faith!
So, which class of service are you in on your faith journey? If you truly want to experience the abundant life that Jesus promises to every Believer then you must choose to travel first class with God! As the current television ad for Hulu says, “Never fly first class, it will ruin flying economy class forever!” It’s the same with God. Once you’ve experienced traveling first class with Him you will never want to travel with Him any other way again!
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