Susan C. Anthony

Astronauts in trainingVery Important People

A friend of ours has an interesting way of getting special treatment at hotels and other establishments. He signs his name M. Branson, O.H.B. Most people don't know what O.H.B. means. They assume it must be something important, and he enjoys the deferential service. If anyone dares ask what it means, he tells them it stands for "Ordinary Human Being."

Have you ever thought about what makes someone a VIP, a Very Important Person? I think we would all agree that the President is a VIP. In the state of Alaska, the Governor is a VIP. Famous people such as movie stars and sports stars are VIPs.

But there’s another way to become a VIP. In 1998, Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota. He was a third-party candidate who had been a Navy SEAL, a worldwide wrestler, a movie actor and a talk show host. In part because of his unusual background and policies, he attracted a lot of national news coverage. He was a VIP.

My youngest brother Mike was in the same class and high school as Jesse Ventura and was on the gymnastics team with him. Although thousands of Minnesotan citizens had little or no personal access to the Governor, Mike could walk right up to him and be welcomed as an old friend.

Last May, Susan and I visited Houston, Texas. While there, we went on a VIP tour of the astronaut training facility at NASA. Another VIP tour that day included top military brass and the man who is second-in-command over NASA. To tell the truth, I think our tour was better than theirs! We were able to crawl around in replicas of the space shuttle and space station used to train astronauts. We saw how astronauts cook, sleep, and go to the bathroom, which is no simple thing in space where there’s no gravity.

We met three astronauts in training, including a beautiful young woman from Japan, Chiaki Mukai, who is more of a VIP in her own country than any rock star or sports hero. We had casual conversations with them as they learned to suit up.

As we wandered around the floor of Building Nine, exploring, we watched hundreds of people go by on a high walkway enclosed in Plexiglas. Their tours were quite expensive, and didn’t last nearly as long as ours did.

So how did we get to be such Very Important People? By chance, an old teacher friend of mine came to Alaska in March to visit an ailing relative. They gave us a call and we met them for a walk. When we mentioned that we were going to Houston, they said, “Our son works at NASA! Give him a call!” We did, and he said he would love to show us around. As it turns out, his job is training astronauts. I have known him since he was a boy, so we were warmly welcomed.

We weren’t VIPs because of anything we had done. We were VIPs because of a personal relationship. Being a friend or relative of a VIP makes you a VIP.

That’s exactly how it works for each of you, when you come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You become a VIP, with access to the throne room of God Himself, because of your relationship with Jesus.

There's a story about a soldier fighting for the north during the Civil War. Both of his brothers had been killed. His widowed mother was at home desperately trying to take care of the farm. The soldier decided to go to Washington D.C. to ask President Lincoln for an exemption so he could go home to take care of his mother.

It was not as easy to get in to see President Lincoln as he expected. He tried everything he could think of. He wrote letters; he talked to people. At one point, he even tried to climb over the White House fence but was chased away by guards. Finally, he sat down on a park bench, bowed his head, and wept.

As he sobbed, a little boy came along and said, “Mister, why are you crying?” He thought, “Well, I don’t suppose it would hurt to tell this kid. He can’t help, of course, but there’s nothing to lose.” He told the little boy his story.

When he’d finished, the little boy said, “Mister, would you come with me?” He said, “Sure, why not?” They walked around the fence, right up to the White House gates. The soldiers snapped to attention and opened the door. The two of them walked right up to the White House. The guards at the door opened the door for them. They walked in, down a hall, and straight to an office with a sign that said, “President of the United States.” Without knocking, the little boy threw open the door, invited the soldier to come in and said, “Dad, this man wants to see you.” That little boy’s name was Tad Lincoln. He was Abraham Lincoln's son.

When you and I become believers, that’s exactly what happens. The very Son of God accompanies us into the throne room of God.

Romans 5:1-2 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

The Greek word translated “access” here is generally used for the introducing of somebody into the presence of royalty. When you are welcome in the presence of royalty, you are a Very Important Person, not because of what you’ve done but because of Who you know.

Source: ┬ęSusan C. Anthony