Lessons From The Titanic (Three Kinds of Leadership)

Lessons From The Titanic


By Rick Joyner
(The following article is an exerpt taken from Rick Joyner’s book, The Harvest)

The tragedy of the Titanic brought to light a striking revelation of three kinds of leadership—all three of which can be seen in the world and the church today.

The first type can be seen in Captain Smith and the crew of the Titanic. They were the best from the British merchant fleet. They believed that there was not a more intelligent, experienced or knowledgeable sea captain in the Empire than Smith. Combine that with his record of never having had a single accident at sea and we have what appeared to be an unsinkable crew with an unsinkable ship. Actually, these characteristics are probably a significant contributing factor to the doom of this ship. These all fed the pride which feeds carelessness, which sooner or later usually leads to tragedy.

The Titanic’s crew had never held a proper lifeboat drill. They did not have a plan for the orderly movement of passengers to the boats, and the crew did not even know how to lower them. Everything had to be planned and learned while the ship was sinking under their feet. This obviously contributed to a much greater loss of life than was necessary. Many boats were lowered only partially full, one with only twelve people, while hundreds of passengers were held below decks by the crew. The entire ship had been caught off guard by the events of that fateful night and they paid dearly for it. Will we be caught in the same position? If we are we will pay just as dearly. But we don’t have to be surprised. The Lord exhorted us to know the signs of the times and not to sleep on our watch. Prophets throughout the land are now calling for preparation; the Lord is giving us signs in the heavens and on the earth. He is sounding His trumpet to wake us up and we must hear it.

Almost every great man of God in Scripture and history was only successful after passing through the fires of failure and defeat. Many of the elders and fathers of the faith would not trust a man until he had his “limp” (a major failure or defeat). As Alexander Solzhenitsyn declared, “Does not even biology itself teach us that perpetual well being is not good for any living thing?” Perpetual well being can open doors to a most dangerous enemy— complacency. What else can explain how the Titanic crew could receive six warnings that there were deadly icebergs directly in their path and yet they did not even slow down!

The Danger of Overconfidence

The Bible is most candid about the failures and mistakes of even its greatest heroes. This is a message in itself. We must take heed when we think we stand, lest we fall. Even the greatest men and women of faith had defeats and failures. Even the apostle Paul could be “foiled by Satan.” When we hear the testimonies of individuals and churches which claim to have never been deceived or made great mistakes, if this is declared as a boast they will be doomed to a great fall. Those who have not been wounded probably have not yet been in the fight. Such are in danger of not only getting wounded, but getting killed.

There were two other ships which played a significant role in the drama of the Titanic disaster: the Californian and the Carpathia. The captains of these ships remarkably parallel the two other prevailing types of leadership found today.

The Danger of Being Overly Cautious

The Californian had a captain who had obviously learned something from his years of successes and failures. He was reserved and cautious, but overly cautious. The realities of life may cause us to react this way if we allow the fear of more failure to sow in us a perpetual hesitancy. Becoming overly cautious can be just as deadly as being overly confident as it proved to be in this case. When Captain Lord of the Californian heard about the ice in his path he slowed down. When he saw the ice he ordered the ship stopped and he waited for daylight. His wireless (radio) operator began warning the other ships in the area of the danger. At 7:30 p.m. her warning was received and logged by the Titanic.

The usually stormy North Atlantic was amazingly calm that night. More than one officer remarked that they had never seen the sea so tranquil. First officer Lightoller of the Titanic made this observation at the inquiry when he declared that “everything was against us.” This seems to have been a resounding confirmation of the Biblical exhortation that when men cry “Peace and safety, sudden destruction will come.”

This tranquility must have overcome the crew of the Californian as well. Her bridge watch saw the Titanic approaching just a few miles away and then saw her stop dead in the water. At first they thought she was taking the same precautions for the ice which they had taken. Then she started firing rockets into the air every few minutes, which is always a distress signal at sea. The crew of the California rationalized this, remarking that it must be a signal meant for another company ship which they could not see! They did not even bother to wake the wireless operator to see if he could contact the ship. Then they watched her disappear beneath the sea while telling each other as the lights dimmed that she was sailing away! Had they responded to the first distress signal the Californian may well have been able to save all of the lives that were lost.

The incredible attitude of the Californian crew is matched by much of the church today. When the final inquiry comes and the final story is told we are going to marvel at how many were in a position to save life but instead slept right through the night like Captain Lord of the Californian when he could have done so much. Rationalization is a popular shield for cowards. Were they so afraid of the ice that they decided to humor each other with unbelievable reasons for not responding to the obvious emergency? Are we going to have to ask ourselves a similar question? As our world sinks into the deep are we going to sleep when we could be saving many, or are we going to rise up and take action?

Revelation 21:8 says, “the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Here cowards are lumped together with the murderers because their actions often lead to the death of others. When we can help and we don’t we will be held accountable before the Lord. The Lord Jesus came to give His life for others and He has called us to follow Him with this same devotion. We may hide and save our lives during times of trouble, but we may very well by this action be putting ourselves in the most terrible jeopardy for all eternity. If we cower and seek to save our lives we will ultimately lose them just like the Lord warned. It is only by losing our own lives that we will find them. Cowards have no place in the kingdom of God. “Those who know their God will display strength and take action” (Daniel 11:32). If we do not display strength and take action it is obviously because we do not know Him.

The Resolve of True Leadership

The third ship in the fateful drama of that night was the Carpathia, captained by Arthur H. Rostron. He was known for the ability to make quick decisions and to energize those who served under him. He is a wonderful example of the leadership the Lord is preparing for this day. Rostron was a pious man devoted to prayer. At 12:35 a.m. the Carpathia’s wireless operator burst into his quarters to report that the Titanic had struck an iceberg. Rostron reacted in character; he immediately ordered the Carpathia turned around and full speed ahead, later asking the operator if he was sure about the report—a striking contrast to the reaction on the Californian.

Rostron then gave an masterful display of a truly prepared mind; he thought of everything and took care of every detail. He ordered the English doctor to the first class dining room, the Italian doctor to second class, the Hungarian to third class, along with every possible piece of equipment or supplies needed for the sick and wounded. He ordered different officers to different gangways instructing them to get the names of survivors to send by wireless. They prepared block and lines with chair slings for the wounded. Bowlines were secured along the ship’s sides along with boat ropes and heaving lines for lifting people in chairs. All gangway doors were opened. He then directed specific officers to take charge of his present passengers and to see to their needs. All hands were to prepare coffee, soup and provisions. He then designated all officers cabin’s, smoke rooms, library, etc., as accommodations for the survivors. Stewards were sent to reassure and explain to their own passengers the reason for the activity to help keep them calm.

Then Rostron turned to face the biggest problem of all—the ice. He was heading at full speed into the same field that had sunk the Titanic. To this courageous man reducing speed was out of the question, but he took every measure to reduce the risk to his own ship and passengers. He added a man to the crow’s nest, put two more on the bow, one on each wing of the bridge, and he stayed there himself. His second officer, James Bisset, then noticed his captain taking one last measure which he considered the most important of all—He prayed.

At 2:45 a.m. Bisset saw the first iceberg. They steered around it and kept going. The next hour they dodged five more. At 4:00 a.m. they reached the Titanic’s last called position and began picking up lifeboats. As the sun rose it revealed an astonishing sight; the sea was full of icebergs for as far as the eye could see in all directions. Even with all the lookouts the Carpathia had passed numerous icebergs which they had not even seen. <font color="ff6699"No one could imagine how they missed them all except their pious captain. He knew that he had done all that he could, but he still needed the Lord’s help.

The difficult rescue of the survivors was carried out with such order and discipline that peace reigned over all. The Carpathia’s passengers caught the spirit of self-sacrifice from her crew. Her first class passengers gave their own quarters to survivors; others were pitching in to do all they could. On one of the darkest nights of tragedy ever experienced on the high seas the Carpathia’s captain, crew and passengers stand out as bright lights of courage and heroism. They are a demonstration of what the Lord has called us to be in the night of tragedy and loss that is now falling upon the earth. Let us not sleep as some did, or be fooled by the calmness of the sea. Let us be prepared!

Source: http://www.christianvoicesworldwide.net/Archive/index.html

5 thoughts on “Lessons From The Titanic (Three Kinds of Leadership)

  1. Pingback: Robert JR Graham » Knowing Your Limits

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