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What do the JetBlue pilot, Mega Millions, and Obamacare have in common?

Clayton Osbon is unfortunately the most famous airline pilot in America this morning.  The JetBlue captain disrupted a flight from New York to Las Vegas on Tuesday.  While in the air, he began rambling incoherently about religion, walked to the rear of the aircraft, then sprinted to the forward galley.  The copilot had locked him out of the cockpit; passengers restrained him while he yelled comments about Jesus, September 11, Iran, Iraq and terrorists.  The plane landed in Amarillo, where he is being held for medical evaluation.

JetBlue’s CEO says that Osbon had always been a “consummate professional.” Those who know him never expected him to behave as he did Tuesday.  Does this bizarre event make you wonder about the captain of your next flight?

Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot will be worth a record $500 million tomorrow.  It was worth $363 million Tuesday night; 47 players came close, matching 5 of the 6 winning numbers.  The jackpot has been unclaimed 18 times since the January 24 drawing.  Your odds of winning are one in 176 million; by contrast, you are 450,000 to 3,000,000 times more likely to die in an asteroid collision.

As you know, the most debated legislation in years is now in the hands of the Supreme Court.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the most sweeping piece of legislation since Medicare was adopted in 1965.  For the last three days, the nine justices heard oral arguments regarding its constitutionality.  Will they leave the legislation intact?  Will they strike down the entire Act?  Will they remove the “individual mandate” that requires all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014, leaving the rest of the Act in place?  We’ll know in late June.

What do these three news events have in common?  Consider three of Jesus’ most famous stories.

In Luke 15, he was criticized by the religious authorities for spending time with sinners (vs. 1-2).  Jesus responded with the parable of the lost sheep: a shepherd leaves 99 sheep to find the one that was lost (vs. 3-7).  Then he told the parable of the lost coin: a woman sweeps her house until she finds a silver coin she had lost (vs. 8-10).  Finally, he told the story of the lost son: a father watches his younger son take his inheritance to the “distant country” (v. 13).  However, he doesn’t go after his prodigal.  Instead, he waits for the moment when he “came to his senses” and decided to come home (v. 17).

Unlike a lost sheep and a lost coin, a lost son has free will.  There are very few outcomes we can control in life.  God measures success by our faithfulness to his will and purpose, not by the response of others to our obedience.

By his measure, how successful will you be today?

Dr. Denison’s cultural commentary originally appeared at http://www.denisonforum.org. It has been reposted here with permission of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.

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