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"Preparation pays dividends"

Ed Jordan
Award of Outstanding Merit - $1,000

Ed Jordan (B.A., M.Div., and D.Min) is a Baptist pastor in Pocatello, Idaho, who, since 2006, has contributed a weekly column to the Idaho State Journal. Prior to working in Idaho, he and his family lived and worked for eleven years in post-communist Central Europe with Hungarian Baptists.  While there, Dr. Jordan authored Biblical Hermeneutics: How to Interpret the Bible in Interactive Study, as well as a Hungarian version entitled: Biblia Hermenteutika avagy Hogyan Értelmezzük a Bibliát?  This work is a self-teaching textbook in the European Decentralized Education Series, and has been translated into multiple languages for use by European Baptist Educational Institutions.  Jordan also wrote forty-six lessons of the FaithMatters Curriculum, produced by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Jordan’s unpublished works include: Get A Grip! On God’s WordGrowing in Love,  and It Takes Three: a Pre-Marital Counseling Guide. He is nearing completion of a book entitled:  Laughing Out Loud: Learning to Live in Another Culture.  He and his wife Eniko have two grown children.

Last week most of America witnessed a miracle. It is being labeled: “Miracle on the Hudson.”  According to a timeline posted on www.newsday.com, at 3:24 p.m. on Thursday, January 15th, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport. At 3:25 the pilot radioed to report a bird strike five to six miles from the airport, declared an emergency, and asked to return to the airport.  At 3:28, the plane was just north of the George Washington Bridge, the jet's altitude was 2,000 feet and its speed was 232 mph.   At 3:29, the 911 dispatchers received the first of what would be one hundred and twenty calls reporting a plane crashing in the Hudson. By 3:31 the plane was no longer on radar, and had landed on, and in, the Hudson River.


The people on board, and the rescuers, had witnessed a miracle. The 150 passengers on board, as well as all the crew, survived. Water taxis, ferries, and emergency workers rushed to rescue the passengers from the plane’s wings, lifeboats, and the 32-degree waters. Since the bird strike caused the plane to lose both engines of the Airbus 320 Jet, the pilot was flying that huge plane like a glider.  The passengers were awed by the pilot’s actions and preservation of their lives.  Would a novice or inexperienced pilot have faired so well?  


A press headline in the January 17th ISJ reported: “Pilot’s Life Prepared Him For ‘Miracle’ Flight.” In reading about the pilot, we learn that Chesley B. Sullenberger, nicknamed “Sully,” had been doing things since he was 14 years old that had prepared him to land that plane with dead engines on a river in the middle of a city.  According to the article, Sully had been a pilot since the age of 14, was named the best aviator in his class at the Air Force Academy, flew fighter jets, investigated airline crashes, studied everything he could about airplanes and flight, as well as learning about the psychology of how crews function during a crisis.  He also mastered flying gliders.  Who would have ever thought that all of these things would one day telescope together to prepare him to glide a jet with no working engines to a safe emergency landing? How could he guide an engineless jet at 200 plus mph through a city, evading buildings, bridges and boats, in order to safely land the powerless jet on a river?


What if the pilot had been inexperienced? The trend in many fields in America today is to put inexperienced and untested people into responsible positions. What if that was the case in hiring pilots? What if this pilot had not, due to his own personal aeronautical interests, obtained glider training? 


I think that this event is instructional to all of us.  We don’t give much thought to the interconnectedness of the events of our lives. We rarely consider how the things that we go through, and the training and experiences we have had, may one day come together to make a difference in the world, or save lives. We need to realize that our past makes the present possible, and our past and present equip us for the future. The diverse training and cumulative life experiences of Captain “Sully” all came together in a five minute crisis to translate into actions that saved the lives of everyone involved. 


Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 (HCSB): “Be conscientious about yourself and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  Paul is giving us advice about the importance of continually developing our lives and learning, because one day who we are, and what we learn along the way, can help rescue others and ourselves.  This verse is clearly illustrated in Captain Sully’s life. He continually developed his character, and his skill sets. Because he continually enhanced himself and his skills, when the time of crisis came he was prepared and saved the lives of many, as well as his own.


Are you taking your life preparation seriously? Do you realize that what you do today is preparing you for life tomorrow?  This is true in your physical life, and in your spiritual preparation as well.  Lack of discipline, learning, or growth today can leave you unprepared tomorrow. On the other hand, preparation today pays dividends tomorrow.  This should give us all something to consider.



Published in the January 24, 2009 issue of the Idaho State Journal;  Pocatello, ID.

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