All tragedy is sorrowful and heart-wrenching, but it seems especially such when it could have been avoided. The loss of 71 lives in the crash of a chartered airline carrying a Brazilian soccer team to Bogota, Columbia is so terrible because it certainly could have been avoided. The Wall-Street Journal ran an article about the miscues that doomed the flight. One of the biggest miscues, and what ultimately spelled the doom of the flight, was not having enough reserve fuel. It is required that airplanes have at least 30 minutes of reserve fuel. The distance was on the edge of the plane’s range, but they chose to not stop for refueling because the plane was running late and the airport available did not have lights and it was after dark. Recordings have played for listeners the urgent pleas of the pilot for the airport to clear way for their landing because they were low on fuel.
This story is so sad, but also so amazing. How do you run out of fuel in an airplane? I get nervous when my car gets low of fuel, and it doesn’t fall out of the sky when it hits empty. Yet, many people can do the same thing with their spiritual life. The flight ended 8 miles short of its destination out of a 2,000 mile journey. How many Christians fall away close to the finish line? The most important destination for us is making it to heaven, yet some fall short of their destination, even though they have been faithful for years. They don’t finish strong! They yield to temptation.
The hard thing about the Christian life is living it for years. Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus through the ups and downs of life. Christians can run out of fuel too! The book of Hebrews was written to encourage Hebrew saints to keep going in the faith. The fuel of our faith is worship, prayer, fellowship, Bible study, and service. We must not run out short of our destination. We must be faithful until death (Rev. 2:10)!