Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Parable of the Control Tower
I want to share with you a parable that I wrote. It may not be a perfect parable, and there might be problems with the way it is written, but bear with me. :)
There once was a very good, wise and powerful King who ruled over the land. In this land were all the modern conveniences such as automobiles and planes. Of course, the King set up the infrastructure of the city so as to provide the safest and most pleasant environment for his people to live. Included in his planning was a large control tower at the airport. The King instructed the tower personnel in the latest safety measures. He taught them the rules of the airport. He taught them how to check the weather. He taught them how to keep things organized so that the planes could land safely.
One day the King decided to go to visit his father in another land. He chose some workers that he trusted, to work in the control tower while he was away. He taught them carefully about all of the rules and regulations so that they too would know how to guide the planes. He also gave them the phone number of where he could be reached. Then off he went to visit his father.
At first things went very well. The workers kept things running smoothly, and helped to avoid accidents among the planes. But as time went on, the different airlines began to complain that things should be done a different way. Their main concern was their own airline's profitability, and flight schedule. They felt they knew as much about airports as these simple workers, so they began to follow their own rules. The control tower employees could no longer do their job, and were forced out. Ultimately, the airport was in chaos, with no one left at the control tower.
Some people were unconcerned about the lack of control tower personnel. They felt that as long as their individual airline followed company policy, then they would be able to take off land safely. Some airlines felt that since they had flown under the command of the King's workers, that they had more of the proper authority to make decisions for how the airport should be run than other airlines. What ultimately happened was that the airport was split in to different sections run by individual airlines. Only planes from the company that ran a certain section of the airport were allowed to land in that area. The workers really did care about their company, and really did care about their work. However, the biggest problem was that there was no one at the tower to tell them of incoming weather, or congested flight patterns. Because of this, some of the airlines didn't survive. Most of the airlines could remember some of the King's rules and instructions, but many of them had been forgotten.
One day the King finally returned from his long trip abroad. When he came to check on the tower, he was saddened to find that his workers were gone. The once wonderful and efficient airport was now in chaos. He sent a proclamation throughout the land that from now on, each airline would be responsible to follow his rules, and to listen to the attendant in the control tower. One day a terrible storm began to form off the coast of their country. The King informed the control tower, and commanded his workers to alert the different airlines to the incoming danger. Because of his vantage point, the control tower commander could see to guide the planes safely to land, and could see the approach of the incoming storm. He was very grateful to have a King who had planned well, and put in to effect an efficient organization so that all of the people could be spared.
Now, as poorly written as this might be, I would like to draw an analogy. The King in the story can be compared to the Savior. While on the Earth, Jesus Christ set up His church. He ordained 12 apostles, and chose one of them, Peter, to lead the church after He was gone. But as time went on, some people forgot some of the teachings of the Savior, or they changed them to fit their own ideals. Eventually, all of the apostles were killed. What came about as a result of this "apostasy" was chaos. Although each church and pastor had good intentions, and worked hard to build up their church the best they could, it was not the same organization that Christ had set up. Eventually, there was no one on the "watchtower" to receive prophecy for the church as a whole, to warn of future or present danger. In Jeremiah 6:17 we read, "Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken." Those in the early church chose not to "hearken" to the words of the prophets.
Ezekiel was made a watchman. The Lord said, "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me" Ezekiel 3:17. He was chosen to receive revelation from the Lord, and in turn warn the people. This is the calling of a prophet. Today we have a living prophet guiding the church. He receives revelation to guide and warn us in these modern days. Some may say that the words of ancient prophets are sufficient. But were the words of Noah sufficient for the children of Israel who were in bondage to Pharoah? No, Moses received current revelation for that situation. So too, we need a watchman on the tower today to give us current revelation from God, and to warn us of dangers that are ahead. I am thankful that God has chosen a prophet today, just as in times of old. Because, just as told to Amos, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7 This is the organization that the Savior, Himself set up. This is the pattern that has been used through the ages. Today we have the same organization with a living prophet acting as a watchman on the tower.