You and I have our rights. And it isn’t a bad thing. Having rights as a person can come in handy. But sometimes having rights leads us to a mentality of entitlement – that we ‘deserve this’ and we ‘deserve that’. We are called to a higher, more noble concern.
I’ve been really learning a lot from Max Lucado’s book “A Love Worth Giving” and I wanted to share with all of you about his brilliant thoughts on ‘Love… is not Rude’. This entry is taken from his book and I added some of my thoughts to it.
See that passenger at gate 26? The fellow looking at the ticket agent with the basset-hound eyes? That’s my. Yeah, I know, you can’t see very well. DFW Airport is packed. Pass out antennae and extra sets of legs, and you’d have a human anthill. We’re all over each other.
It’s Canada’s fault. A front from the north blasted the Midwest, freezing O’Hare and blowing a thousand itineraries to the wind, including mine.
When the plane finally disgorged us, we raced through the concourse like Wal-Mart shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving. Pity anything or anyone in our paths. How else were we supposed to make our connections? Even with perfect weather I’d barely catch the final flight of the day to San Antonio.
That explains my hangdog look. I’m pouring what little charm I have on the kind but hassled ticket agent. The plane is overbooked, and she holds my future in her hands. What will she give me – a boarding pass or a hotel voucher?
“Are there any seats left?” I’m winking, but she doesn’t notice. I’m sliding a twenty in her direction, but she doesn’t see it. She just looks at the screen and sighs, “I’m afraid…”
Afraid? Afraid of what?!
“Afraid you’ll have to spend the night in the men’s room.”
“Afraid the only seat left is in the last row, between two sumo wrestlers.”
“Afraid you’re milking this illustration like a dairy cow, and if you don’t get to the point of the chapter, I’ll route you through Afghanistan.”
But she said none of these. Want to know how she completed the sentence? (Here, take a tissue. You’ll be moved.)
“I’m afraid there are no more seats in coach. We are going to have to bump you up to first class. Do you mind if we do that?”
“Do you mind if I kiss you?” So I boarded the plane and nestled down in the wide seat with the extra leg room and smiled like a prisoner on early parole. Not only was I going home, I was going home in style. I leaned back my head, closed my eyes, and…
“Hey! Hey! Lady!” My eyes opened. Two rows in front of me a fellow was standing. A short fellow. Didn’t need to watch his head to stand up straight. Did need to watch his tone, however. He was rude.
“How does a guy get an extra pillow around here? And what about my drink? My wife and I paid extra to fly first-class. I am accustomed to better attention. I want some service!”
It’s not like the flight attendants had nothing to do, mind you. There was the simple matter of making sure the doors were closed and the bins were shut so this already-hour-late flight could lift off. You’d think a fellow could wait on his pillow and Scotch. Not this guy. After all, as we all knew, he had paid extra to fly first-class.
Which may explain the difference between his behavior and mine. I’m not always a good example, but that night I was a poster child for courtesy. You weren’t hearing me grumble. I wasn’t complaining. No demands from the window seat in row four. I was just happy to be on board. Mr. Got-to-Have-It-Now may have paid for his place. Not me. Mine was a free gift.
And it wasn’t the first. God gave me one long before the airlines did. Talk about an upgrade! Not just coach to first class. How about sinner to saint, hellbent to heavenbound, confused to clarified, guilty to justified? If any-one has been bumped up, I have. I’m not only heading home, I’m heading home in style. And I didn’t pay a cent. Nor have any of God’s children.
But do we sometimes act as if we did? Do we sometimes behave like the pillowless prima donna in the first row? Think about his request for a moment. Was it unreasonable? No. A pillow is part of the flight package. What he requested was understandable. The way he requested it, however, was not.
He thought that it was his right because he paid for it. However God calls us to a higher, more noble concern. Not “What are my rights?” but “What is loving?”
“Love… is not rude” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
Always remember that before you think you deserve something and you have the right to be the center of attention, your ticket was free. You have, in truth, no right when you think about it.
Besides, just look where you are sitting. You could’ve been bumped off. Instead, you’ve been bumped up. So loosen up and enjoy the journey, you are going home in style.