The Oxygen Mask Policy
Deuteronomy 11: 18a: “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul.” 19a: “You shall teach them to your children.”
If you’ve ever flown, you’ve heard it. “In the case of sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop. Pull the mask toward you, placing it firmly over your mouth and nose. Secure the elastic band behind your head and continue breathing normally.” (Side note: SERIOUSLY? What are the chances that breathing normally is possible if this happens? I personally have pre-planned to hyperventilate at first sight of oxygen masks! But, back to the point.) The announcement continues with, “If you are traveling with a small child or someone needing assistance, secure your mask first, then assist the other person.”
In our family, the Golden Rule was the rule. We were taught that putting ourselves first was an act of selfishness. So, why would the airlines instruct us to put ourselves first?
Well, let’s suppose we ignore those instructions and put ourselves last. Due to obvious chaos and panic, we will have a physical struggle helping others with their masks. Soon, we will fall prey to a lack of oxygen and become weak. If we are too weak to help, we will be faced with the possibility that everyone perishes. However, if we follow the oxygen mask policy and take care of ourselves first, we remain strong enough to help others and all can be saved.
I wonder if the aviation profession realizes their oxygen mask policy is biblically sound? The verses above from Deuteronomy 11 are “God’s oxygen mask policy.” He said, first, take care of yourself by laying up His Word in your own heart. Then, afterwards, take care of others by revealing to them the love of God from your heart-store.
To summarize: When it comes to God’s policy, care of self must precede care of others, because we cannot share with others what we do not possess ourselves.
Moses, wasn’t always the strong leader. After finally putting the words of Jehovah from the burning bush into his heart, he gained the strength to challenge the greatest force in Egypt, Pharaoh, and lead an entire nation out of slavery. But, he needed God’s strength first in order to save others.
When faced with the devil’s temptation in the wilderness, Jesus gained strength from scripture that was laid up in his heart. With it, He was able to oppose the devil and redeem us, his children. His salvation of mankind took unimaginable strength.
Amazingly, just like Moses and Jesus, we gain strength from putting God’s Word in our hearts. Each day of our lives is like a box of chocolates; we never know what we are going to face. We can assume that God is not looking for us to free a nation from slavery like Moses. Nor is He looking for us to redeem all of mankind, because His Son did that quite well! But, with God’s Word in our hearts, we will have the strength to face whatever the day holds. So, what are we waiting for? Right now, reach up and pull down that oxygen mask, put it on yourself, and secure it tightly. Breathe in those words of God and be strong to His glory.
Lord, help us remember that our strength comes from storing your Word in our hearts. May we never cease sharing your incredible love with others.
Blessings of Strength,