A Ten Million Dollar Decision

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
— John 13:34 ESV

What are you willing to release to show someone you care?

Rear Admiral Lawrence Chambers was faced with that question during the Vietnam War.

According to the Associated Press, South Vietnamese Air Force Major Bung-Ly, his wife, and their five children crammed into a two-seat Cessna airplane to escape their homeland as it was overrun by communist forces. Major Bung-Ly lifted off in a flight for freedom but it appeared that his efforts might end in a crash.

Miles from shore and running dangerously low on fuel the Vietnamese Major spotted the aircraft carrier USS Midway. Just one problem — there was no place to land.  Helicopters used to evacuate Saigon covered the flight deck.


Admiral Chambers, sensing the desperate situation, made a ten million dollar decision and ordered the flight deck cleared. In just moments the helicopters that blocked the runway were dumped into the sea to create a path for the small plane to land. “His decision was priceless,” Bung-Ly said. “Without his decision, we would not be here today.”

U.S. Marines in Japan Homepage
U.S. Marines in Japan Homepage

Chambers’ move to “clear the deck” is an incredible picture of grace and what it costs to show it. Knowing full well the price tag of the helicopters, the Admiral determined that life was more valuable than ten million dollars of equipment. In an act infinitely greater, God the Father determined our salvation was worth the life of his one and only Son. That’s grace!

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
— Hebrews 2:9 ESV

Showing grace come with a price tag. It cost God and it will cost us. It might not be a ten million dollar decision, but like the Admiral sometimes we will have to “clear the deck.” That might mean pushing personal time over the side of your ship to make room for someone in need. It might mean comfort or convenience gets "dumped into the sea" to build a runway of kindness.

Grace always comes at a cost — just ask Admiral Chambers. Better yet, simply take a look at what God did to rescue you.

Here's a prayer to start your day: “Lord, help me be willing to clear the deck of my life to show grace to those in need.”

Now be on the lookout for planes that need to land.



See "USS Midway Veterans Recall Fall of Saigon" at www.kpbs.org."Vietnam refugees honor 'freedom carrier" at http://www.utsandiego.com; "USS Midway Air Boss Remembers Heroic Bird Dog Airplane Rescue" at www.kpbs.org.