In the late sixties, there was a rash of plane hijacking (in 1969 alone, there were nearly three dozen attempted or successful hijackings to Cuba of flights originating in the U.S.). One however that occurred in February of 1969 might just be the strangest. An Eastern Airlines flight from Newark to Miami was interrupted by man with a 10-inch knife held at the neck of a stewardess, demanding the plane instead go to Cuba. The strangeness occurred with the passengers and the crew; they took it as one big joke. They saw the knife but everybody was cool and calm, just a little annoyed at the delay. Some of the passengers were noted to be laughing and carrying on, not the least bit worried. How could people act that way in the middle of a tense and dangerous situation?
Well it all had to do with a passenger that justhappened to be on board. His name was Allen Funt, the creator, producer, and host of Candid Camera, a popular hidden camera/practical joke television program. So when the fat man in a ridiculous business suit pulled out a knife and made his demands, the passengers who had recognized Funt, assumed that the events were just a hoax. Soon word spread around the cabin and what was indeed a real hijacking was thought to be just a prank.
It is amazing how the presence of one person can change the entire perception on what is happening. Instead of panic, there was calm. Instead of fear, there was laughter, all because of the reputation of one individual.
It makes you think about how your presence to those around you. If you are there, do people think things are better or worse? Do you make people feel comfortable or you a bringer of trouble? Are positive things about to happen or just complaining? Will God be glorified or the church be maligned? In the normal routines of your life, what do you make people think?
In 1st Corinthians 10:31-33, we read:
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.
There is a reality show everyone you know is watching. It’s completely candid even if it’s not on camera. It is the story of your life and how you live it. What kind of show is it? It is a tragedy of missed opportunities? A comedy about a person who bumbles about never noticing what truly matters? Is it a drama about a person angry at the world, finding fault and bringing misery to everyone around them. Or is it a story that not really about you it, but one that reflect on Jesus and his message of salvation?
What does your presence do for the Gospel?