1 Maccabees, Chapter 3, Verse 55-56
55 After this Judas appointed officers for the people, over thousands, over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens. 56 He proclaimed that those who were building houses, or were just married, or were planting vineyards, and those who were AFRAID, could each return home, according to the law.
Judas is confronted by a large Army so what does he do. He prays, fasts and calls on God’s mercy. Then he organizes all of the people into squads, platoons, companies, battalions, and regiments. Then he basically lets anyone who wants to go home go. To those that remain he says,
“Arm yourselves and be brave; in the morning, be ready to fight these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. It is better for us to die in battle than to witness the evils befalling our nation and our sanctuary. Whatever is willed in heaven will be done.”
Judas only wanted real fighters. The mindset of Judas reminds me of the mindset of the early Antarctic explorers like Ernest Shackleton who wrote this famous advertisement for men of courage.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.
Loyalty-Sir Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Shackleton like so many of his generation were ultimate adventurers – part hero, part daredevil – fighting the elements and the odds, too far from civilization to call for help – laying it all on the line purely for the love of adventure. Shackleton led a doomed expedition to miraculous survival through the sheer force of his motivational leadership. In 1914, he set out with a crew of twenty-eight men on a quest to be the first to travel across the entire Antarctic continent by way of the South Pole. His ship, Endurance, became caught in ice and was crushed. After abandoning the ship, he and his men faced incredible hardship from a variety of brutal Antarctic conditions – from shifting weather to shifting ice, along with the trials of hunger, illness and discouragement – for more than a year. Yet every man got home safely, when the entire expedition would have perished under weaker leadership. Incredibly, the only casualty was frostbitten toes on one man. He had passion for the adventure of the mission, but he also had passion for the men he led. When he was forced to abandon his doomed ship and realized he would not achieve his goal of reaching the South Pole en route to the other side, he kept his disappointment to himself while he shifted his priorities to the well-being of his men. He said to another leader, F.A. Worsley, “It is a pity [to miss the crossing], but that cannot be helped. It is the men we have to think about. “He put his men above himself. He understood that the survival of them all might well depend on the quality of his leadership. He also realized that he could provide better leadership if he served as well as led. “Shackleton shared the physical labors as well as the watches…[He] would forego his own rations in order to feed the undernourished or the ill. And he often did so without anyone knowing it…Shackleton always put the needs of his men ahead of his personal comfort, and as a result he saved them all.” He realized that in order to survive they would have to stay healthy – mentally as well as physically. When we are trying to survive, having fun is the farthest thing from our minds. It may even be seen as trivializing the suffering. But during harsh tribulation it is more important than ever to find something to enjoy. During hard times we need to find a source of joy in order to maintain a healthy perspective. As a leader, Shackleton accepted responsibility for maintaining the spirits as well as the health of his men. Yes, they were brave adventurers just as Shackleton was, well able to take care of themselves. Still, Shackleton knew that as a leader he could provide a unique kind of influence that would be empowering, energizing and uplifting. He continually sought out ways to boost morale. He set aside time for recreation. They improvised various forms of entertainment. Several of the men had chosen books among the possessions they salvaged, and they read aloud to each other. They played soccer on the ice. “Humor…played a role, with Shackleton telling stories or teasing his men. What Shackleton was doing was keeping his men alive inside; by encouraging them to read or sing, he was keeping their spirits from sagging or dwelling on the inhospitalities that in other circumstances might have overwhelmed them.” He Inspired Loyalty. Shackleton’s passion for his mission and for his men, his passion for leadership, and his passion for motivation were a source of energy and courage during times of severe adversity. These virtues made him a leader that people wanted to follow. Even when his men may not have wanted to do something for themselves, they would do it for him. He inspired this kind of loyalty because he gave it to his men. They respected and trusted him because he respected and trusted them. They took care of him because he took care of them. They put him first because he put them first. He was a wonderful example of what a role model should be.
Shackleton dedicated South, the book he wrote about their extraordinary exploits, “To My Comrades.” In one especially moving passage he observed: “In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that natures renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.” Sixty years after they had been rescued, the expedition’s first officer, Lionel Greenstreet, was asked how they had done it, how had they survived such a deadly misadventure. Greenstreet gave a one-word response: “Shackleton.”
“The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life’s most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum or bourbon in it.” ~ Lewis Grizzard
Rum is a fantastic drink, one that has served as the stuff of legends for pirates of every walk of life. Rum also appears in everything from dinners to desserts, with rum balls being one of our particular favorites. Of course, as the great Lewis Grizzard said, it also is an amazing mixer, and one of the only ones capable of improving Coca-Cola. So, we all know that pirates like rum and that rum is an alcoholic beverage but many of us are less than clear on what, exactly, makes rum RUM. Let’s start with the basics, shall we? Rum is a distilled alcohol, specifically distilled from byproducts of sugarcane. Some varieties are made from molasses, others from sugarcane juice but all rum, when its finished being distilled, is clear. The color you see in rum is from additives or seasonings and are not in any way a bad thing. Rum first was created in the Caribbean after it was discovered that molasses could be fermented into alcohol. Ironically, it was the slaves who made this discovery, but it was the Colonials who discovered how to distil it into true rum. So important did rum become in the years to follow that it played a major role in the political system of the colonies. How? By being offered as a bribe to those the candidates wished to curry favor with. The people thus coerced were no fools, however. They would attend multiple hustings to determine which of their patrons might provide them with the largest quantity of rum. Thus, it can be fairly said that rum was of such note that it literally decided elections.
How to Celebrate Rum Day
Yo ho ho matey! The best way to celebrate Rum Day is to indulge in this most ignoble and distinguished of drinks. A contradiction? Not at all! Rum has long had a reputation for being the devil’s drink by dint of the ease of production, the delicious flavor, and the powerful kick it carried. Rum Day is your opportunity to sample as many varieties as you like and decide which one will be coming aboard your vessel for the next pillage.
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Monday: Litany of Humility