AN AIRPLANE STORY
Author: Sam McGowan
One day a sad, downcast man went to an airport, hoping to catch an airplane to heaven. He was a poor man, with nothing but the clothes on his back; they were ragged, dirty and torn. His life had been a waste from the standpoint of the world's standards, and he had literally nothing to show for it.
Upon reaching the airport, the man was confronted by two signs; one marked "AIRLINE TERMINAL" and the other "PRIVATE PLANES". Since he knew that he had nothing, especially not an airplane, he reasoned that he must go to the airline terminal. Perhaps he can find a seat, even though he has no money and nothing of any value to offer. But, he has spent his life doing odd jobs here and there. Maybe he can find some work he can do so he can earn his ticket for the flight to heaven.
Inside the terminal he saw a large counter with a long, long line in front of it. Over the counter was a huge sign, "WORKS AIRWAYS". On the destination board was a single destination, "HEAVEN", with departure times at all hours. He has never seen such a long line, one made up of people of all races, nationalities, cultures, religions and philosophies. There were Hindus, Moslems, Buddhists, Shintoists, Taoists, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Holiness, Baptists, even many Fundamentalists, as well as liberals and modernists. (The atheists and agnostics didn't even bother to go to the airport!) The poor man got into the line, a dirty, tired, old sinner.
As he stood in the line, waiting as it crept slowly forward, he heard the dialogue of the other prospective passengers as they picked-up their tickets. He noticed that the prices paid for the tickets varied, as each passenger told the clerk what he or she had done to earn their ticket.
"I helped the poor."
"I obeyed the Golden Rule."
"I was baptized."
"I said a prayer."
"I joined the church."
"I gave money to the church."
"I remember a date and a time."
"I quit drinking."
"I never did drugs."
"I didn't go to movies."
"I lived a good life."
"I kept the Ten Commandments."
"I served my country."
"I supported the president."
"I am a conservative."
" I healed the sick."
"I supported civil rights."
" I lived a sanctified life."
" I took care of my family."
The poor man listened with despair as he came nearer and nearer to the head of the line. He had done none of those things! He had not one thing to offer in payment for his ticket!
Finally, he stood in front of the clerk. "And what have you done to earn a ticket?" the clerk asked.
The man thought of his sinful life. He had done nothing to earn favor with God. "Nothing." he said, dejectedly.
"I'm sorry, sir. You cannot have a ticket."
The poor man sorrowfully left the crowded terminal. where people were clustered together waiting for the tickets which would allow them to get aboard the huge Boeing 747s waiting at the gate. As he came outside, he felt very dejected - miserable, in fact. He had been rejected by "WORKS AIRWAYS!" Although nearly everyone seemed to be able to afford the price, he could not come up with one single thing he had done to earn himself a ticket to Heaven via Works! He could not pay for the ticket himself.
As he walked along, his head hung in dejection, he heard a pleasant voice.
"Excuse me sir, you look so unhappy. Can I be of assistance?' The speaker was an attractive young lady dressed in a scarlet and white uniform. On her breast was a small tag, and on it these words, "GRACE AVIATION".
"I was rejected by Works Airlines. Now I can't go to Heaven because I have done nothing to earn a ticket. I have not one good work to offer God on my behalf."
'Come with me sir. All is not lost. I can point you to the right way."
"You can? But I have nothing with which to pay for a ticket!"
"Come with me."
The girl took him to a building on the other side of the airport, away from the crowds who were striving to get to Heaven by WORKS AIRWAYS. They went through an almost empty lobby and out through the doors onto a parking ramp, which was mysteriously paved with gold On the golden ramp sat a sparkling white jet airplane; one much smaller than the Boeing 747s operated by Works Airlines. The man had never seen such a beautiful sight in his life. A ramp paved with gold! The passengers who rode on such an airplane must truly be rich, or perhaps even royalty!
"Whose airplane is that?" The poor sinner spoke with a degree of excitement in his voice. He had never seen anything so beautiful; not ever.
"That airplane belongs to the King. It is for His children to ride to the Kingdom."
"But who is the King? Who are His children?"
"The King is the Lord and the children are those who have been born into His family."
"Oh." The poor man felt dejected once again. He knew that he was of lowly birth. But then he perked up. "Can anyone else get a ticket for His airplane? I might be able to clean the windshield? Or something?"
"No one needs a ticket, but only the children of the King can ride. His children have no need for tickets."
The poor man felt even more dejected, and envious of the King's children, who would be able to go to Heaven in such style.
The girl spoke again, "Would you like to get aboard the King's airplane?" She reached a hand toward him.
"But how can I? I'm not a child of the King."
"Look there." She pointed, gesturing toward the words written on the side of the fuselage, over the single entry door.
They said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me."
Suddenly the significance of those words dawned on the man. The airplane was the way to Heaven! But what about WORKS AIRWAYS?
The girl spoke again, "Sir, the Bible says, 'The wages of sin Is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.' You see sir, the only way to Heaven is through God's mercy and grace. 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior."' (Titus 3:5-6)
"'For there is none righteous, no not one. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."' (Romans 3:10; 23)
As the man looked at the side of the airplane, he noticed that on the left side, just behind the cockpit, was an open door, with a ladder reaching down to stop right before his feet. On the ladder hung a sign, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go In and out, and find pasture." (John 7:9) And below that, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
He realized the significance of the scripture verses - the airplane, Himself, was Jesus! It was powered by His blood, which filled the fuel tanks, never to run dry. Before him was an open door, all he had to do was climb aboard! But he hesitated.
"Shall I lead you in?" The girl again held out her hand. The sinner took it, and followed her into the airplane.
As he entered the door, he suddenly felt different. He felt happy, clean - for the first time in his life. He looked down. His rags had fallen away, replaced by robes of sparkling white, washed clean in the same Blood of the Lamb which also filled the fuel tanks. He looked around. There were some onboard whom he recognized. One girl had been a street-walker, and had once looked hard, reflecting a dim view of the world and life. Now she was radiant, dressed in the same white robes which he now wore. Over there was a gambler, there a drunkard, a thief, a small child, a young man who looked Just like the girl who had led him to the airplane.
Everyone had the same look of radiance and each wore the same white robes which identified all as children of the King. Now he understood. The airplane was Jesus, and only the children of the King could ride, but the children of the King were those who got on board the airplane! No one needed a ticket because the children of the King don't need them.
As he took the last seat, the girl took his hand. "I am so glad you decided to trust Jesus as your Savior. I will see you in Heaven. Now I have other souls to point toward the Savior, to 'Grace Aviation.’"
The engines started and the airplane began moving toward a different runway from the one being used by the endless line of 747s of WORKS AIRLINES. The King's airplane took the short and narrow runway, while the WORKS AIRWAYS airplanes took the runway which was broad and long. The King rolled down the runway and took to the air, bound for the New Jerusalem!
The man looked out the window. To his amazement, he watched as a WORKS AIRWAYS airplane rolled down the long, broad runway, but never left the ground! Instead, it rolled right off the end, into a bottomless pit, from which emitted the smoke from the fires of other destroyed airliners. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof leadeth unto destruction." None of the Works Airways airplanes ever left the ground! They all ended up in the bottomless pit!
The moral of this story is this: no ticket is required in order for one to get to Heaven. Only citizens go there and passage is free, open to all who will accept it. To become a citizen, one must become a child of the King, by "getting on the airplane", trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Trusting Him, and Him alone, as the atonement for sin. "For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Feel free to pass this on!
Click Sam McGowan's Home Page to return.