Tag Archives: Ernest Shakelton

Those Who No Longer Have Dirt on Their Feet

Story of the Day for Wednesday November 30, 2011

Those Who No Longer Have Dirt on Their Feet

                     Jesus got up from the dinner, set aside his outer garments, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then, putting water in a basin, he began to wash his disciple’s feet. 

                                                                      John 13:4-5

When the drawing was over, everyone stared at their leader and realized he was guilty. Their commander ordered that all 28 of them would draw lots, but when it was over, everyone knew the drawing had been rigged.


Voter fraud and rigged elections will always occur when those lusting power have the opportunity to cheat the system. At elections, residents of Chicago often cynically urge each other to “vote early; vote often.”


Ernest Shackleton and his crew, seeking to become the first party to cross the continent of Antarctica, set out in their ship, Endurance, in 1914. The ice floes in the Weddell Sea, however, stranded their ship. For ten months they waited for the ice to release its grip, but instead the ice crushed Endurance’s sides, and she sank.

Alone in a sea of ice, the crew was forced to pull three lifeboats in sub-zero temperatures, in the hope of finding open water.


The expedition never planned that everyone would leave the ship. They had brought only eighteen warm, reindeer-fur sleeping bags. They managed to take some of their wool blankets and improvise extra sleeping bags, but they were hardly comfortable in the arctic cold.

Who should get the warm bags? Shackleton announced they would draw lots. As sailors claimed their sleeping bags, however, they began to grow suspicious. After everyone had drawn lots, they realized the enterprise had been rigged. As seaman William Blakewell later recalled, “There was some crooked work in the drawing, as Sir Ernest, Mr. Wild (the Second in Command), Captain Worsley and some of the other officers all drew wool bags. The fine, warm fur bags all went to the men under them.”

First Officer, Lionel Greenstreet said of Shackleton, “His first thought was for the men under him. He didn’t care if he went without a shirt on his back so long as the men he was leading had sufficient clothing.”


In Jewish life, servants could be made to perform any task, no matter how servile, except one: no servant could ever be made to wash his master’s feet. That act was considered too degrading – even for a servant.

Yet, during the Passover feast, Jesus kneeled before the men he led and performed the act that not even a servant would consider.

If all you want from those you lead is compliance, then barking orders and issuing ultimatums should do the trick. But if you’re looking for undying loyalty, you’ll find it from those who no longer have dirt on their feet . . . because of you.

I offer no advice on voter fraud.

                                                                   (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)





The Most Contagious Disease


Story of the Day for Monday October 17, 2011


The Most Contagious Disease


         Then the people from the area discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from continuing to build. . 


                                                                  Ezra 4:4



One of the most contagious diseases known to man is discouragement.


All great achievements have come about because people persevered in the face of seemingly impossible odds. In 1915, Ernest Shackleton gathered a group of adventurous men and set out to be the first ones to traverse the entire continent of Antarctica. But they never reached the mainland before ice flows trapped their ship, and crushed it.

Alone on an ice flow, with no one to call for help, they embarked on a desperate attempt for survival. The odds were grim.


If you were their leader, what would you determine was the greatest need for your men?  Food? Warmth? Shelter? All these are vital for survival.  But great leaders realize that, in times of crises, morale is vital. One man’s skepticism could demoralize the entire crew. Optimism would not guarantee their survival, but without it, failure was certain.

So, what did Shackleton do? Alfred Lansing, in his book, Endurance, describes how Shackleton made sure Frank Hurley attended the high-level meetings. Hurley was not an officer, nor did he have any previous Antarctic experience. Shackleton included him because he knew that Hurley needed to feel important and did not want him spreading discontent to the others. When Shackleton made tent assignments, he put Hudson, James, and Hurley in his tent. Why? Because these were the men most likely to discourage the rest of the crew.


After surviving the Antarctic winter the crew climbed into lifeboats and made their way through the ice flows to Elephant Island. With his crew very weak, but on dry land, Shackleton needed to leave immediately in a row boat and travel almost a thousand miles to find help. He chose Worsley because he was the best navigator, and McCarthy, because he was built like a bull. But the others, Crean, McNeish, and Vincent were chosen to accompany him because they were the ones who were the most pessimistic at the time. After a year and a half of struggle, Shackleton and all his crew were rescued.


When God’s people began rebuilding the temple, their enemies didn’t force them to quit. Instead, they tried to discourage them so that the people would decide to quit.


Pessimists like to point out what great achievers already know: that the odds their venture will fail is high. And, once any group is convinced it will fail, its downfall is ensured.

Those who refuse to give in to discouragement – who persevere through innumerable obstacles, are the ones who are most likely to attain success.

Has the Lord called you to a high goal?  Don’t give in to discouragement.


                                                                   (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)