The plane is incredibly crowded for a late evening flight. My seat is on the second to last row and I have the isle seat. Not my first choice, but I don’t mind so much, the guy by the window is taking his first trip via airplane! He’ll enjoy that seat more than I would. He has short hair and a scruffy beard and he’s probably somewhere close to my age. He talks a lot! I don’t mind that either, I like to meet new people and learn their stories. It’s February and this guy’s wearing plaid shorts and a t-shirt. Being from Canada, he’s prepared for his first trip to Florida! The more he talks the more I like him, he reminds me of my big brother Mike.
A teenage boy settles into the middle seat. This kid graduated from high school last summer and has spent this winter snowboarding! I didn’t catch where he is from, but he likes snowboarding and guns. He’s planning to go to welding school in the fall. He’d like to custom build a snowboard park!
The flight attendants prepare for take-off and my friend by the window excuses himself from the conversation so he can watch the city lights disappear beneath us! I don’t blame him, it’s pretty spectacular to watch.
As our flight progresses, the three of us get to know each other a bit. We laugh, and share stories of home and places we’ve been. We are, perhaps, a little loud for such close quarters, but in a jovial way!
Throughout our conversation, my Canadian friend frequently mentions God and scripture. He shares with us three of his favorite scriptures from the Bible and the reasons he loves them so much. He repeatedly uses the phrase, “When I meet My Maker”
“When I meet My Maker, I want to be able to tell Him I’ve done something good with my life.”
“When I meet My Maker, I want to tell Him that I spent my life helping people for Him.”
“When I meet My Maker, I want to feel good about what I can tell him I did with my life.”
My friend explained that this coming Autumn he is going to Bible School in Chicago to become a Youth Minister. He believes that working with children and teenagers will be the most rewarding career for him personally and one he feels would glorify our Heavenly Father.
As I listen, the Holy Spirit brings to my mind The Parable of the Talents. I recently studied this Parable in my personal scripture study. My friend was sharing it with me in real time!
(Or same video at lds.org link.)
We are, each of us, given different talents, skills, abilities, assignments, and roles. We are blessed with these gifts to better the world around us, that we might bring glory to our Father in Heaven, who created All.
My Canadian friend is seeking ways to sharpen his gifts, to learn, and grow that he may better serve others. He has this desire, not to be seen of men, but so that “when [he] meets [Our] Maker” he can report that he has increased the talents with which he was blessed and he is prepared to return them (and the glory) to Whom they rightfully belong.
As my new friend shares his conviction, I can feel Our Maker’s love for him in my heart. I feel inspiration and encouragement because of this man’s faith. I feel love for a stranger to myself, but not a stranger to God.
In this moment, on an airplane to Florida, My Maker is teaching me of the very great love He has for All His Children. My Maker is teaching me that we are intentionally not created the same, and intentionally not provided the same gifts, and intentionally not given the same assignments and roles in order that God’s purposes may be accomplished.
Thank you, my friend, for helping me to see Our Maker’s plan a little more clearly. And thank you, for sharing with me your faith and your desire to honor and glorify God with your whole heart.