Heart of an Explorer
New World: Humans are driven to explore the unknown. For some, there is an irresistible urge to find new paths, discover new lands, blaze new trails and push farther than anyone thought possible. The journey of discovery is often fraught with hardships and many failures, but to those who press on, against all odds, they are the ones who stand as pioneers and explorers. The most regarded accounts of the heroes of the Bible are of those who set out, standing upon the promises of God, to act upon His command or discover what He had prepared for them. The very nature of the new birth is that the Lord gives us new life in Him and the path that we now follow is for the glory of God. Those in faith who were of the time before Jesus saw these promises from afar and considered themselves as sojourners headed towards a better country, that is, a heavenly one. “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” — Hebrews 11:13–16. Their faith in the promises of God made them explorers (left a country to seek a country of their own). We too, as believers, ought to live our lives in a similar way on this earth, for our home is not this place forever, but one that still is to come.
The First Leap: “Following the light of the sun, we left the old world.” — Christopher Columbus. To be an explorer, it doesn’t mean you need to swath a path through an unknown jungle, cross a vast desert, or land upon the icy wastelands of Antarctica. A person’s journey might not include a physical feat at all, but it will require you to make a leap. This is often the most difficult part of the journey for some — the start. Lots of people like to use the term, “I’m getting out of my comfort zone” to let people know they are on a journey of some sort. However, it’s not just enough to get out of your comfort zone and then flee back to the familiar. If you really want to explore the waters of the unknown you need to jump in and start swimming. It takes a resolve of more than just talk to explore the unknown. You have to commit and face the challenges. Once you become comfortable being uncomfortable then you will really start to bloom, but that won’t happen until you take the first leap. Dangers and hardships are inevitable, but staying on the shores of certainty can be just as harmful. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” — Helen Keller (She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree). Taking the first leap is born in faith, and in that faith, you must live. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” — Matthew 16:25
Why Do It?: There are various motivations of why people set out on explorations. Some are simple motivations, like George Mallory who was asked by a reporter, “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” Mallory’s response, “Because it’s there.” Mallory’s 1924 attempt to summit ended with him dying on the north face of Everest. It wouldn’t be for another 29-years that the first successful summit of Everest would finally be achieved. Mallory’s simple motivation and bold action to attempt such a feat are remembered far more than his failure ever was. A simple motivation, much like Mallory’s, can take you a long way. We as Christians also have a simple motivation as the Lord left us with His Great Commission. “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” — Mark 16:15. Know your why and live your life dedicated to that worthy cause.
Never Finished: For a person on a journey or someone who is tasked with a great duty, there is no end to the mission. They always desire to continue on and yearn to be on the field or in the action. They cannot rest on their laurels or be content when there is still more work to be done. A good example of a dedicated person with these traits was Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone. Basilone won the prestigious Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the fight for Guadalcanal in WWII. Sgt. Basilone and his unit fought off a frontal assault of over 3,000 Japanese soldiers for nearly three days and completely halted the enemy advance. Upon receiving the Medal of Honor in 1943, Sgt. Basilone was recalled stateside and asked to help sell war bonds for the U.S. Government. He did his duty, but Basilone felt out of place and asked to be transferred back to the theater of war in the Pacific. His request was denied as the Marine Corps told him he was more needed on the homefront selling war bonds. But Basilone requested again and in 1944 his request was granted to return to war. Sgt. Basilone was a part of the first wave assault on the beaches of Iwo Jima and once again he fought bravely. He guided tanks through minefields and led attacks on Japanese blockhouse bunkers, but as he moved along Airfield 1 he was struck by shrapnel and killed in action. For his extraordinary heroism in combat at Iwo Jima Sgt Basilone was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. He was the only Marine in World War II to receive both of the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. For Basilone, the easy way would have been to retire a decorated soldier with the highest honor for his actions at Guadalcanal, but that wasn’t who he was. His true calling was on the field and in the trenches. The mission of the nation wasn’t finished and he wanted to see it through to the end. The Apostle Paul was exactly the same. He endured shipwrecks, beatings, stonings, robbers, hunger, thirst, imprisonment, persecutions and much more, but Paul continued on. He was unshaken in his calling and paid the ultimate price to make Christ known. The theme is — Never quit, never finish, press on to the very end.