Imagine hearing “Man Overboard”! Panic? Paralysis? Indifferent? Or “Call to action”?
In visiting our precious Jenny (NAVY Computer guru stationed in Norfolk, VA… I know, I know I said NAVY), we had conversations over a ton of subjects after taking 3DM training…. One that stood out was sharing what God has been impressing on me: “People are more important than projects”. For a Type A, driven by success in numerical terms, the quandry is monumental…
No coincidence, driving the point further, I was struck by a Navy policy Jenny shared: Every new Junior sailor being deployed gets a 1st briefing … followed by “Man Overboard” drills. A constant reckoning is mandated while underway at sea (deployment).. each person must be accounted for. Did and Is everyone still on the ship? The mission STOPS when someone doesn’t muster (show up for attendance).
What’s more incredible, this STOP policy doesn’t happen when equipment or material goes MIA. Sure there might be an inventory, and subsequent search. Yet, it is clearly emphasized that PEOPLE are incredibly more valuable than any possession!! Do our actions reflect the same valuation?
Considering warfare throughout history, this presents quite the conundrum. I’m sure this wasn’t a Roman policy, or a Viking policy, or a Napolean policy, or a Nazi policy….. many current nations wouldn’t think twice about leaving a comrade behind. What is 1 man compared to the plan?
A mighty Carrier gets the Captain’s command to “Stop, Turn Around”, when a headcount reveals a problem of 1. Standing on the massive $4.5 billion Bush Carrier (3+ football fields long (1,092 feet), and 134 feet wide) , easy to realize this is no small undertaking. The sheer girth with multiple F-18 $60 million planes landing, or launching… missiles, supplies, 2 nuclear engines….. the elements of war…. On a fortress of war designed for very special tasks. Not finding 1 person right?
Consider other aspects: wind, speed, weather …. All that ship’s great power rediverts in a moment. The current mission is put on pause, and every effort is extended to 1 issue. Where is our missing crewmen?
Can you imagine… Everything STOPS! They turn the ship around to go back, and a 24/7 search ensues until the missing man/woman is found.
The story of the “Lost Sheep” comes overflowing to memory …. Left the flock, and searched and searched and searched… until the lost lamb is found! What a great parallel to this policy, where 1 not 100 or 1,000 or a 1,000,000 is important!!
Contrast this commitment , care, and concern of a Military Captain to those leading a Cruise Ship… Several stories are told where someone is lost at sea to never be found again. An investigation takes place, but NO effort is made to stop (remaining passenger pleasure is maintained in full glory). Interrupting the original plan would be unacceptable!
Besides we can further justify the actions. Isn’t it hopeless finding a lone person in an endless sea? Did they get off at a port? If foul play is involved, we can prosecute later… Compromising business profits has it’s limits.. or It was determined their own delinquent actions caused them to fall overboard (not the boat’s liability). How different this Cruise approach is from “1 for all, and all for 1”.
Thinking about those we disciple, and about our churches…
- Is our mission designed to equip, train, and hold the individual accountable?
- Focused on the 1 or the Multitude?
- Are we periodically taking roll? By what methods and accounting?
- Do they simply go missing without anyone noticing, and/or caring?
- Does our whole mission STOP, focusing on the “Lost Sheep” ?
- Are we blaming them for falling overboard?
When it’s clearly determined the “man or woman is Overboard”, we simply throw a life ring to allow them to keep afloat. Justifying our positive GROUP movement can’t be slowed for 1, can it?
This is NO new revelation to a Christ Follower. Of course, we are all vastly important to God…. Yet even in ministry, we can emphasize overall “Butts and Bucks” vs. 1. Doesn’t it feel better to be part of a huge thriving group rather than a small huddle?
Some are more likely to remain in our social circle vs. the atypical. Subconsciously we can dismiss some of our exclusions or overlooks. Those whiners, criers, harder to love (where even a low level of like is challenging), Chicago Bears fans (Go Pack Go), or … surely God knows we are imperfect … He can’t expect us to focus on that 1?
Despite oodles of cuddly stuffed animals; Sheep are dirty, dumb, obstinate creatures. A shepherd’s career is still 1 of the lowest callings with little to NO advancement. A shepherd might get to pick their sheep, but more often than not.. they inherit them with the job. There don’t seem to be any exclusions for a particular lamb they don’t like . All are worthy of care! Plus ALL of us are called to shepherd!
Of course, no doubt agreement is reached = 1 is important, if that 1 is me, myself and I! Don’t all our core instincts, and actions reflect that priority? Our actions might be “survival of the fittest”, yet a spoiled child’s tantrum may not be far from reality. Expectations are ever driven to care for ourselves. Our entire strategy is driven by rising to the top, and getting what we want.
In juxtaposition to the 1, is the service or work martyr. Prompting evolves with God suggesting “Hey You (pastor, teacher, business owner, parent… too many hats) are a people too… you have incredible value… your well being is more important than performance”. God is so patient, and consistent! Seems like many Captains forget those who go down with the ship, lose their commands and their life!
Finally listening to the “Man Overboard” cry, and getting back to making the 1 a priority! Exciting to be running drills ASAP!! Steering a cruise ship might be wonderful in the short term.. less worries, more rewards, tons more pleasure, we are getting to see great ports and advances without delay… However, a Godly call emphasizes individual investment….Redefine success by Focusing ON ONE.
As a unit we move forward, only when everyone is accounted for. People are more important than projects, or plans, or _______________ …. Sure some will decide to muster out… Yet, Everyone is worthy to hear the call: “Man Overboard …. STOP, turn around, Let’s Search”!