Just recently I read an amazing story of toughness, endurance, and courage. Lewis Pugh, a British lawyer who is lobbying for protecting the oceans, is planning to go through the most dangerous swim ever attempted by a human being. He is planning to go through five consecutive swims across the Ross Sea in Antarctica—the coldest, wildest place on the planet. He’s going through this swim to raise awareness for the ocean environment. Not only is it extremely cold—28 degrees F—but there are also very dangerous creatures there. Probably the most hostile animal is the leopard seal. And I remember on the radio, he said that there are lots of leopard seals and killer whales in the Ross Sea. And the leopard seal has what he calls a “split personality” because at one moment they will kill a penguin and then offer it to you as a gift and then the next moment they’re lunging at your leg trying to drag you into the sea so they can drown you. They are extremely huge, powerful, and unpredictable, just like the Killer Whale.
- On the radio program, the host asked him, “How do you prepare for swimming in such low temperatures?” Lewis Pugh talked a little about how he takes ice baths to acclimatize his body. But that’s not the main thing he emphasized. He went on to say, “The most important thing is not the mind or the body, but the heart. And what I mean by that is the reason why you are doing something. That is what is going to drive you when you are cold, when you are frozen, when you think to yourself, “Why am I here? What am I doing this for? The only thing that is going to keep you in the water is your reason. And I have seen the oceans change and the Ross Sea is one of the most pristine places on this planet and we are desperately trying to get a marine protected area down there and that is what is going to keep me in the water.”
- And in the same way, it is our focus on the message—Jesus—that will keep us going and give us the strength and effectiveness we need in reaching people. We can use every credible, appropriate means we have for spreading the gospel. But at the same time, we can remember that even though the method may change, the content, the message remains the same. And if we focus on Jesus, who is the content of the message of the gospel—it is all focused on Him—then we will discover effective ways of communicating it. We will discover creative new methods that capture the meaning of the gospel in powerful ways and take it to new places. And we can be always ready when God sets the stage for sharing the gospel.