Devotion | Shackleton – Part 1
Philippians 3:13-14 says, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The newspaper ad read, “Men wanted for a hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success.”
It was 1913. Ernest Shackleton was building a team to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica. And while some question whether this exact advertisement really did appear in the paper, its sentiment is certainly a true description of what those that joined the expedition could expect. It also summed up beautifully what drove them forward to endure such unrelenting hardships: the hope of future glory and fame.
Here was a chance to be part of something much greater than yourself. Someone said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” meaning, most of humanity, both men and women, pass through life with little recognition and few remember their brief life on earth. Ulysses S. Grant, discussed in the previous devotion, is a good example. If not for the American Civil War, he likely would have been lost to history, living a rather normal life. Shackleton’s expedition presented the possible chance to be part of something that might see one’s name land in the history books. This is the type of “greater affection” that calls one to try something of great risk and sacrifice.
Shackleton found his crew, then spent months gearing up. When they finally embarked, the rough estimate for the return was a year. Little did they know it would be three years before any of the crew would see civilization again.
How would you have responded to an ad like that? If not this, what kind of adventure sounds interesting to you?
God, thank you for instilling in each of us a desire for significance, a desire for our lives to matter. Help us to keep as our main burden, a desire to honor you in all areas of our lives—to pursue you as our greatest affection and adventure.