In the wreckage and grief surrounding the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, a sad and disturbing picture of the suicidal co-pilot continues to emerge. By all appearances, one would think that Andreas Lubitz had it all together. Lubitz, in his late 20s, was employed by a major airline, ran marathons, and traveled the world. One would hardly suspect an individual of that profile to take his own life and the lives of 150 innocent people. But reports indicate Lubitz was also dealing with a broken relationship and a deteriorating mental state that was sure to put his career in jeopardy.
I have found the tragic story of Lubitz and those he killed to be a harsh reminder of a universal truth: Everyone needs the gospel and they need it now. Despite the appearance of worldly success and self-sufficiency, Lubitz was obviously a broken and hopeless young man. And, regardless of how successful and sane the 150 passengers and crew members may have appeared to be, none of them had any suspicion as they boarded the plane that they would be dead in a matter of hours. Sadly, very few of them were probably ready to face the Living God and give an account for their lives and how they had responded to God’s offer of grace through Christ.
When taking my seat beside total strangers on a plane, I have often looked for opportunities to begin a spiritual conversation and present the gospel. And I have often not looked for opportunities. Flight 9525 reminds me that no matter where we are or whom we are around, our greatest concern should be for the eternal state of the souls of others. We, and they, may be unknowingly in the last moments of life.
Kentucky Baptists continue to give me reason to believe that eternity still weighs heavily upon our hearts. At the request of our convention president, Tom James, KBC Business Services Team Leader Lowell Ashby recently reported the total amount Kentucky Baptists gave to the cooperative mission work of the KBC and the Southern Baptist Convention this past year. Lowell added together all receipts, including Cooperative Program, special mission offerings (e.g., Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, Eliza Broadus), and every category of designated giving (e.g., world hunger, disaster relief). The only figures missing from the spreadsheet are the gifts Kentucky Baptists send directly to an agency instead of routing those gifts through the KBC. No doubt that is a significant figure. But so is the figure Lowell provided.
How much did Kentucky Baptists give to our cooperative efforts to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ? $35,522,376! Of that total, $21,404,431 were given through the Cooperative Program.
Do Kentucky Baptists still care about the lost and still believe we can do more to reach the lost by working together? I have more than 35 million reasons to say, “Yes, we do!”