Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.
This was the text of an ad allegedly by Ernest Shackleton asking for men to embark on a south pole expedition. Who in their “right senses” advertises for volunteers in this manner? Remarkably, all 56 of about 5,000 applicants returned safely.
Jesus invites us to follow Him, taking up our cross, a symbol of challenges and opposition. He says the road is difficult to find and to navigate, yet He invites us. He says we should hold our lives cheaply if we want to follow Him. Why? The way winds through the valley of the shadow of death and the fear of death makes one easy prey.
The only set of people in the world, who live the fullest and richest lives are those who are unafraid of death. They not only pass through the world, the world passes through them. Victory is more easily obtained by them.
In any venture, when benefits are amplified over cost, sacrifice and responsibility, we tend to attract people who only want the benefits. When severe cost exists and is made known however, we automatically weed out charlatans and interlopers and attract genuine servants and people willing to pay the price.
As the Shackleton ad shows, there is still a remnant of people in the world who want to be told the truth, who are ready to face the hazards, who are tired of being lied to. Jesus invites us, telling us it’s a rough road. I prefer that – at least you know what you are getting into.
When you are truly set on an objective, nothing can stop you, not even the risk of death, talk less of low wages. Our world today is in desperate need of leaders who will see and present the true picture without embellishments. They attract people and organizations who “love not their lives unto the death”. There can be no significance, no true revolution, no sustainable change without it.