June 23, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 23 June 2015
The renowned explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, had an obsession to lead the first expedition to cross the Antarctic continent. His initial goal was to reach the Antarctic, and thus be the first individual to set foot upon the South Pole (a dream that created disappointment when Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the earth’s most southernmost land mass).
In August 1914, set sail for his third trip to the South Pole. Shackleton departed from London with 27 men (and their dogs) aboard his ship, the “Endurance.” In January 1915, his ship became trapped in sea ice off the coast of Antarctica and the crew was compelled to vacate the ship, which was eventually crushed. Shackleton and his men were marooned upon four feet of ice covering 8,000 feet deep water. The explorer and his crew survived some 635 days and nights without suitable rations or shelter, and doing so in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Shackleton knew his men were near the precipice of disaster. He eventually boarded a 22-foot lifeboat with five men and navigated toward South Georgia so he could return with necessary supplies.
When he returned to rescue the remaining crewmembers in August 1916, the men’s disposition was astonishingly and moderately positive. Not a single man perished when Shackleton returned to rescue his crew! Even though the 22 men were exhausted, hungry, and admittedly fearful sometimes, they were never ultimately despondent. The attitude was attributed to the extraordinary leadership qualities of Frank Wild, the loyal companion and right-hand man to Shackleton. Every morning, Wild would cheerfully rouse the crew, regardless of the conditions, with the command to “lash up and stow, men; the boss may come today.”
Regardless of the tremendously formidable Atlantic ice, the crew heeded Wild’s command each and every day, anticipating their boss’ return. A primary component for the men’s survival was based upon their confidence that “the boss” (as Shackleton was known) would not abandon them. Wild proclaimed that truth daily to the crewmembers because he did not want them to forget that “the boss” promised to return and rescue them.
For those who know the promise of the Lord for his church, the relevance is obvious. The ultimate “Boss” promised, “I go to prepare a place for you” and that He “will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Even when God’s people encounter insurmountable circumstances, in addition to unexpected changes and difficulties, we need to maintain composure, proclaiming, “lash and stow for the Boss may come again today.”
The dictionary defines lash as “fasten or bind tightly” so that nothing is loosened; “stow” means to “pack or store carefully and neatly.” Scripture exhorts the believer to “eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20). Eagerly awaiting the Lord’s return is a remarkable incentive for maintaining spiritual vitality. Let us, therefore, pray, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20), and in the meantime, “lash and stow” so we are ready for his return.
Pastor to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia