Members of One Another

...we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25 ESV)

On August the 8th 1914, 5 days after the outbreak of World War I, Winston Churchill bade farewell to an expedition headed to explore Antarctica. 28 men along with 70 sled dogs sailed aboard the ship Endurance upon a voyage which would go down in history as one of the greatest adventures of all time.

Earnest Shackleton, the man in charge of the expedition, was a seasoned arctic explorer and an able leader. Hurricane force winds, subzero temperatures, and the ever changing frozen landscape were just some of the challenges facing arctic exploration at the beginning of the 20th century.  Knowing the dangers which lay ahead, Ernest Shackleton hand selected his crew from more than 5000 applicants. Known for his unconventional methods of selection, Shackleton made it no secret that he valued character, attitude, and temperament even before actual experience. Other unique approaches to leadership adopted by Shackleton were the even distribution of menial chores and his personal investment of daily one on one time with every man on board. 

On January 19, 1915 the ship endurance became locked in ice on the Weddel Sea many miles from its intended destination. After months of failed efforts to free the vessel, the ship was crushed by the pressure of the shifting ice. On Nov 21 after being stripped of usable supplies, the Endurance slipped beneath the surface.

The hopes of record breaking exploration a distant memory, making it home alive became their sole focus. Over the next year, while braving the most inhospitable environment on earth, Earnest and his men refused to give up hope. Of all the books and memoirs written of their death defying experience, one clear key to their survival became apparent. They were a a family, They fought for the survival of every man, and they allowed no division to prevail among them. Due to the insightful leadership of Shackleton, the crew from the outset understood clearly that as a team they would succeed or fail. Every man carried his weight and all were held in equal esteem. No glory mongers, no hot shots, just a closely knit group of humble hard working men from every background imaginable. 

If we are to faithfully endure and survive the days we are living in, we need each other. We are indeed, as Paul describes us, members of one-another. If we are to accomplish God's purpose of sharing the truth and by God's grace scale the straight and narrow path set out for us we must do so as a family, as a body with Christ as our unquestionable head. Jesus is the head of the Buford Family Church, and as we make him the Lord of our lives he will unify our body in heart and purpose.

Ernest Shackleton was the tie that bound his men together. They all had implicit faith in his leadership. Shortly after abandoning ship, The crew of the Endurance made for Elephant Island, a three day journey from their current location. Upon arriving many of the crew were too weak for further travel. Shackleton selected 5 strong men and made a 700 mile journey to an island where a whaling station operated. After many deadly days upon the open water Shackleton and his companions finally made landfall only to discover they were on the side of the island opposite the whaling station. A final 36 hour journey was braved by Shackleton and his only two companions with strength enough to go on. Seeking a direct route by land they crossed over never before traversed glaciers in an attempt to reach the whaling station on the other side. 

Finally, more dead than alive, Shackleton dragged himself into the doors of the whaling station. For the next 4 months Shackleton untiringly worked to obtain vessels to rescue his stranded crew. After three failed attempts due to impassible ice flows, Shackleton finally reached his men at Elephant Island and to his joy discovered that not a single life had been lost.

Family is all about getting home together. I think we would all agree that in the end that is all that really matters. When this becomes our all-consuming desire the quality of our relationships become a priority. 

Recently many of you have invested in your relationship with your Heavenly Father in a consistent and intentional way through chewing each morning on the Buford Family Bread devotionals. I now ask you to also invest in strengthening relationships within our family.

Ask God to reveal to you if there are any conversations you need to have. Ask him to make you aware of any relational breakdown you have experienced with a brother or sister. 

Sometimes we sense something is off and don't know why, yet we are too afraid to ask. Sometimes what we are sensing with people has nothing to do with us but braving a conversation may reveal a terrible burden our friend has been struggling with. Something as simple as "is everything ok between us?" Can open the door for much needed healing. Other times that question can reveal that there is honestly nothing going on, yet it still communicates the value we place upon the relationship.

As we continue to surrender to Jesus Lordship in our lives, let us recommit to one another and the ties that bind our family together. Our goal is to get home together and to drag as many along with us into eternity as possible! 

Still Seeking His Face,

Pastor Andrew

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