one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids
by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists
I travel a lot. Of necessity, a good deal of my travel is by air. Therefore, I spend a considerable amount of time in airports.
After the terrorist attacks of 9-11, airport security has, understandably, become more stringent and time consuming. Occasional travelers continue to be frustrated with the inconvenience, but frequent fliers have become accustomed to the rigid requirements of the TSA.
One accommodation airports have made to lessen the hassle for those who fly frequently is a line at the security checkpoint labeled “Expert Travelers.” This allows those who fly often to avoid delays encountered in the regular security lines. People who choose this option understand the screening process and know how to move expeditiously through it.
Recently I entered the “Expert Traveler” lane at an airport and found my place in line behind three young adults—two men and a woman. The young men had been cleared and obviously were waiting for the young woman beyond the initial checkpoint. She, on the other hand, was involved in a lengthy conversation with the TSA officer.
The reason for the delay soon became apparent. Although she had a valid boarding pass, she did not have a photo ID. I looked on in disbelief. Needless to say, the people in line behind me had become exasperated travelers rather than expert travelers. Honesty dictates that I tell you I shared their exasperation.
Thankfully, TSA agents pulled the young lady aside and allowed the rest of us to present our required documents and complete that phase of the screening process. In a matter of minutes I was placing my shoes, coat, belt, the contents of my pockets, and laptop computer in a plastic bin on the conveyer belt. After successfully negotiating the fullbody scan, I gathered my belongings and made my way to the boarding gate for my flight.
During the flight, I began to reflect on that bizarre experience. I struggled to reconcile in my mind how anyone, during this time of heightened security, could think they could pass through security without having the required documentation.
Then it occurred to me—the same thing happens in the spiritual realm all the time. People assume they are going to Heaven, but their hope has no biblical basis. They mistakenly believe they are God’s children when they have never experienced the new birth. Entering Heaven without being converted is like trying to get through airport security without a valid ID. You can’t.
Sadly, God’s judgment is more exacting than any TSA agent or x-ray machine. Someone might occasionally slip through the airport screening process, “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth” (Romans 2:2). Make no mistake about it, “the Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Timothy 2:19).
Are you certain about your spiritual identity? When you stand before the Lord one day, will there be evidence that you are a child of God? The Bible admonishes you “to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). Have you made the necessary arrangements to go to Heaven, my friend? That’s one trip you don’t want to miss.
About the Column: One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.