“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)

All pilots know that to stay on course their compass must be oriented to true north.  Most of us know that compasses in general always point north, but how many realize that all aircraft compasses must be periodically calibrated back to true north to compensate for field error induced either within the aircraft or from external field distortion sources?  This process is known as ‘compass swing’.  Here is the text of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Advisory Circular on Compass Swing:

“Compass Calibration typically involves two steps.  First, compass compensators are adjusted to minimize the influence of aircraft-induced fields that generate errors; and second, a correction card is prepared to indicate remaining error.  The pilot offsets the compass reading using these corrections to obtain accurate compass direction.”

So why this technical lesson from aviation?  I believe it provides a compelling analogy for the life of the Christian.  Our true north, the steady example which we calibrate our lives by, is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ethical systems are discussed in Part 1, Chapter 5 of Preston Mannings new book on Faith, Leadership and Public Life.  He surveys the failure of most ethical systems to facilitate ethical behavior.  He concludes:

“If you are responsible for establishing the moral tone and standards of a group – a church, a company, charity, political organization or government – surely the lessons drawn from the teachings and example of Jesus constitute an excellent starting point.”  (Manning, Faith, Leadership and Public Life, p. 54

So, our first calibration back to true north in our lives is to make calibration adjustments from the example of Christ through daily Bible reading and prayer. This is the adjustment to distortion fields “inside the aircraft,” that is, our own personal sense of ethics and belief.  The second calibration, the adjustments needed from influences outside the “aircraft,” those external distortion fields we get in the day to day pressure of making decisions and facing temptations in business and life, require re-calibration in your Forum group or your church community.

We all know what happens when an aircraft is flying with an improperly calibrated compass.  It does not arrive at its intended location!  It is the same in the Christian life.  To finish life well, to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” requires steady recalibration focusing upon Christ’s example and leaning on our Christian community.

May you fly steady and true this week.


John Wiseman –  Corpath Business Forums – www.corpath.ca