Greetings, Reading Friends and New Subscribers! And Happy Fourth of July to our American Friends! Thanks for joining us for, “Worth the Cost, a Christian Short Story!” All over our nation, there are organizations that spend millions on presenting their amazing ministries. It is commendable to be resourceful and enterprising. However, sadly, many of these same organizations boast only small contributions to actual evangelistic endeavors.
Not long ago, David Platt wrote in his book, Radical, about a church that spent $23 million on a building project, then raised five thousand dollars for the refugees in Western Sudan. The following short story was inspired by Platt’s comments, but I also drew from another recent example of “comfortable Christianity” in our nation. Let us follow Jesus Christ’s pattern of ministering to others, and not chase the American dream at the expense of souls. Something to think about. See you on the next page—David Telbat
Worth the Cost!
A Christian Short Story
By D.I. Telbat
Joshua Engles had saved up hundreds of dollars to buy plane fuel and a banner to fly behind his small plane on that Fourth of July. It had taken a year to save up the money and have the banner made. People mocked him. They said he was a fool to spend his hard-earned money as a construction worker on a stunt that would last only a few hours—and possibly achieve nothing at all.
However, what God had placed on Joshua’s heart to do was no stunt. It was no religious gimmick or cry for attention. He wanted to reach as many Christians in one city with one specific message. Towing a banner behind his Cessna seemed the most practical and unique way to reach the masses.
Throughout that year, Joshua had prayed for courage against critics—and there were many. He hadn’t been a pilot for very long in Alaska, so some said what he intended to do was “stupid and unnecessarily risky.” Towing a banner behind his small plane did come with risks, but the risks were small compared to the fruit he hoped would be borne from his obedience.
The risk in banner-towing, specifically, was that a plane had to fly slow enough so the banner wasn’t torn to pieces from the wind—but not too slow, or the plane would stall. Flying at the optimum banner level of one thousand feet, if he stalled out, wouldn’t leave much room to correct mistakes. He would get six hours of flight time to exercise low speed and high power operations.
The small city north of Anchorage, was like every other American city, and the Christians there were like most other American Christians. The American dream had overtaken the call to make disciples for Jesus, even among those who had once been so devoted. The cost of discipleship had been replaced by the focus on 401(k) accounts, and entertainment. The value of knowing Jesus had been replaced by the value of technology, sound systems, and busy schedules—oftentimes even within the churches.
Meanwhile, in Anchorage and other cities, homelessness prevailed. Suicide rates within neighboring native populations rocketed. Whole villages up the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers hadn’t heard the plain gospel message for generations. Joshua had identified the dilemma in his own community church, and doing nothing wasn’t an option for him. Responding to the problem began with waking up his neighbors as well. Only then could a revival take hold, and a right response to the Great Commission could be obeyed.
From a small airfield outside of town, Joshua took off. He flew in a tight circle to check the banner. It was flapping gently, but not too wildly, as he flew only ten knots over stall speed.
He began to circle the city with almost six hours of fuel, after which he would need to land again. The sky was overcast, but the clouds were high. The flight pattern he’d filed would take him on a figure-eight route, giving every part of the city several passes to view both sides of the banner. Since it wasn’t raining, a maximum number of people would be outside on that summer Fourth of July holiday.
While watching his speed carefully, Joshua prayed that God would use his simple banner to turn selfish hearts to selfless hearts once again. There was work to be done, and God’s people were the ones to do it—even if it meant discomfort, sacrifice, and exclusion. The salvation of souls was worth the cost!
He looked down at the busy city streets and neighborhoods, imagining they were reading his banner. One side read, “How will they hear unless you tell them?” The other side read, “If you care for them, go to them!” They were the main ideas he took from several Bible verses, especially Romans 10:14.
Joshua had done his job—reminding Christian men and women of their commitment to Christ over their attachment to the world. The rest was up to them and God. Even if no one else understood, Joshua knew that somehow, God would make it all worth the cost and risk. Time was running out for people to respond . . .
The End of
“Worth the Cost, a Christian Short Story”
NEWS: Kara of The Fiction with Faith Daily online newspaper, recently included David’s post, “Merging COIL and STEADFAST,” under the paper’s “Christian Fiction” section here. And then, in her June 30 Daily online paper, she featured our D.I. Telbat Novel Update Post here! Thanks, Kara!
Prayer Prompt: From the Samaritan’s Purse website: “Samaritan’s Purse is caring for critically injured children and adults at our Emergency Field Hospital on the Plains of Nineveh in Iraq.” They have an urgent need of Christian medical personnel to staff the hospital for deployments of three weeks or longer. See this article for a detailed list of personnel needs. Pray that these needs are filled soon.
COMING UP: Join us next time for David’s own Leeward Set Writing Update!