Two years ago I was at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, waiting for my plane home to Baltimore, Maryland, when an announcer came over the public address system informing us the airport had experienced a power outage.
It was humid and 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The sun hit the window behind me as if it had nowhere else to shine.
The jetway that should have led us from the departure gate to the plane was not working. The ground personnel told us the airport was using mobile staircases to help passengers board planes. But the airport didn’t have enough staircases for every plane so we had to wait our turn.
I was sitting between two ladies who complained about the weather, how that in that airport things always went wrong, and anything else they could think of. The ground personnel couldn’t give us a specific time of departure, which gave my seatmates another reason to complain.
Nearly three hours after the initial power outage announcement, ground personnel told us we could board.
So we exited the gate area by walking down a stairway and headed toward the mobile staircase that would lead us up into the plane.
As I walked toward the plane, I noticed a man walking up and down the stairs. I wondered what was wrong with him. We all wanted to go home and he was just delaying our departure. I walked up the stairs and noticed the sweat on the man’s face and shirt. It seemed like every step he took added a wrinkle to his forehead.
The man was carrying passengers’ luggage. Then I noticed who he was – our pilot.
This pilot went above and beyond just flying planes. He made passengers more comfortable at the cost of his own comfort. I didn’t hear anyone complain because they didn’t have to carry their own luggage. Nobody asked him to help, and I’m sure he didn’t get paid more for doing it.
Days later I reflected: What would happen if instead of us having the title of captain, co-pilot, editor, administrative assistant, director or president…we had the title of “servant.” Would we behave the same way?
The kingdom of God calls us to be servants, not masters. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be great must serve others. Whoever wants to be first must be last.”
I hope every person we talk to will perceive our desire to serve him or her, and I pray that when God says to us, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” that each of us will say, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
—Laura Samano is the assistant editor for Guide magazine.