Lenny Skutnik had no intention of being a hero that day. The staffer at the Congressional Budget Office in Washington was having an ordinary winter day when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River shortly after takeoff. Those who survived the crash faced death as the plane sank in the icy waters.
A helicopter dropped a rescue line to one of the survivors, but she was too weak to hold on. Lenny Skutnik saw what was happening and dove into the water. He swam out to her and pulled her back to shore, saving her life. Two weeks later, President Ronald Reagan invited Skutnik to attend the State of the Union address, and in describing the accident said: “We saw the heroism of one of our young government employees, Lenny Skutnik, who, when he saw a woman lose her grip on the helicopter line, dived into the water and dragged her to safety.”
Skutnik was honored by the president of the United States, not because he tried to draw attention to himself but because he did what was right in a crisis. Satan tells us that we need to be sure everything we do is seen and praised. Yet God reminds us that attempts to promote ourselves eventually backfire.
“Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”—Proverbs 25:6-7