The Amundsen and Scott race to the South Pole is such a captivating story. [If you missed part 1 of this blog, please click HERE] Two men, representing two nations as distinct as the two styles of exploration that they employed, navigated some of the harshest conditions on earth in order to be first to plant their nation’s flag at the South Pole. Today, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station hosts visitors from around the world (for three months of Summer) and a skeleton crew of about 40, for the Winter (9 months long). The legacy of these explorers lives on. As I’ve thought about my four take-a-ways from their journey, I wanted to apply them to the Overboard Life. What do you think of this application of their journey? Does any of it register with you? (as usual, I love your comments on FB or on the post itself!)
Victory usually comes thru careful planning. In Proverbs, Solomon speaks much about the importance of planning. One of my favorites is found in Proverbs 11:14: “Where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in the abundance of counselors there is safety.” Taking time to pursue what God has placed in our hearts allows us the opportunity to grow from the wisdom and input of others, and increases the chance of our success! Yes, God can accomplish anything He wants, even with the worst of plans, yet it seems He most often chooses to use His people to accomplish His work.
Goals are achieved by steady progress. I love the story of Nehemiah. (In fact, I love it so much I based my second book on his life and the principles about living extraordinary -- check it out!) One of the aspects of his leadership of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem was that he challenged the people to keep working, but nowhere in the text do we see him urging them to do so quickly. I’m sure they all wanted to be done rapidly, but over the 52 days of building the work was more about progress than speed. At one point, Nehemiah even tells them to work with a shovel in one hand and a sword in another. That had to slow things down just a bit!
Imagine if the builders had attacked their wall project with 24/7, non-stop work? I’m guessing about 48 hours later, the project would have come to a screeching halt! Victory usually comes thru careful planning and goals are achieved when we plan steady and consistent progress. Of course there’s a time to hasten to the finish line, but more often-than-not, progress wins the day over speed. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find many biblical stories where speed is more prominent than progress!
The best moments in life usually flow out of our God-given make up: I love teaching people the truths found in Psalm 139, especially when you get into verses 13-17. There, David fleshes out these amazing truths about God putting us together, literally “knitting us” into the people He wanted us to be, inside and out. God didn’t just create your physical being, He also knit together your personality, your passion, your likes and dislikes and your style!
When we embrace the way that God made us – instead of trying to hard to be like someone else – we generally find ourselves experiencing the best moments in life, even when things aren’t going well! Paul echoes David’s concept in Psalm 139, when he writes in 1 Corinthians 12 that we are all part of the Body of Christ. God made each of us according to His plan, and gifted for His work. When we live out our God-given design (Paul would say an eye should be an eye, not a foot...a hand should be a hand, not a knee cap!) the whole body will benefit and each of us will find the greatest joy.
You can’t pay the price, if you don’t know the cost. Look at Jesus’ words in Luke 14:28: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” You think you’re ready to pay the price to see your dreams realized, and to chase down your God-given goals? Make sure you know the cost, first!
Amundsen and Scott were well aware of the dangers facing their team of explorers. They knew the costs, understanding that their very lives would be at stake in the mission (and Scott and his team all paid with their lives!). When each of them left their respective starting points, they were ready to pay the price for fame and fortune – their survival and success hinged on it.
The Bible is full of warnings for those who want to live the Overboard Life, because God knows that the journey is hard. Paul would tell Timothy, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 2:12). If you choose to embrace the Overboard Life of faith, you have to know that there will be a cost, and knowing that, you must be willing to pay the price.
Amundsen and Scott’s story inspires me on so many levels. Of course, I want to finish my life more like Amundsen than Scott, but I would gladly choose the latter over living safely in the comfort of the boat. After all, I believe God wants me to use the gifts and talents and ideas and dreams He has given me out on the water, where His Son is doing Kingdom work. How about you?
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water.