Character in Real Life - One-Minute Testimonials

DILIGENCE – A One-Minute Testimonial


By Bill Hutchison and Steve Withrow


The Parachute

Deep in the bowels of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier a man works on a long wooden table, folding, and stretching, and untangling, and folding again. He’s done it hundreds of times. Does anyone notice? Does his work matter? Maybe these thoughts enter his mind as he continues the monotonous task. But the man was diligent in his work, and it made all the difference. But more about that in a just a bit.

For the moment, the focus of our attention is Charles Plumb, a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 Combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a Surface-To-Air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

As Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude the man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

“It sure did,” Plumb assured him. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb says he couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottoms. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything else. You see, I was a fighter Pilot and he was just a sailor.”

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent beside a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn’t know. Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

Everyone needs someone in the background who will be diligent in packing our parachutes. The mother who diligently prepares healthy meals for her family is packing a parachute of nutrition that will pay off down the road.

The church member who diligently refuses to gossip, but instead wages war on his or her knees is packing a parachute of spiritual protection that safeguards our unity in Christ and ultimately furthers the gospel.

The student who studies diligently now, is packing innumerable parachutes for the future… parachutes that will safeguard his future employer, his future family, his own future success, and the ideals of our nation.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to realize how today’s diligence impacts tomorrow’s success.

In Proverbs 31, King Lemuel recognized for all time the virtuous woman who diligently packed parachutes for her entire family, and he lauded her with praise. He said her price was inestimable… far above rubies. As you go through this week, be diligent to pack someone else’s parachute, and recognize those who pack your own.



This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.