I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.–2 Timothy 4:7
April 14, 1912 was the day the ocean liner Titanic sank. It was a day of senseless tragedy, pain, and unbearable suffering. However, in the midst of the chaos, the following story of incredible courage emerged.
Under the direction of bandmaster Wallace Hartley, the music was cheerful. Although the ship was severely damaged and had begun to sink, the band played music to soothe the frenzied passengers. The selections were mostly ragtime and gave the impression to the passengers on deck that all was under control and there was no need to panic.
At 2:00 A.M. the last boat, Collapsible D, left the ship. It was now 2:05 A.M. and more than 1,500 people were still aboard. The band continued to play. Finally, as the ship sank, the deck became so steep that bandmaster Hartley released the musicians from duty. Alone, he began the first notes of a simple hymn. One by one the bandsmen, choosing not to leave, joined in. It was the last song the band would play and the last song survivors heard before the ship broke into two pieces. Minutes later, the entire band was washed away by a sudden wave.
Faithfulness. You cannot finish well without it. Scripture is full of accounts of those who followed God in faith, not knowing where He would lead. Other accounts tell of those who courageously followed Jesus to their own deaths. Hebrews 11 records just a few of the many faithful men and women whose lives continue to encourage us today. Verse 38, although short, stands out with distinction as it describes these faithful believers. It reads, “the world was not worthy of them.” We can only hope the same will be said of us at the end of our lives.
Hartley’s story concludes this way. On May 18, 1912, the body of bandmaster Wallace Hartley was laid to rest in what some called “pageantry beyond belief.” 30,000 mourners packed the streets of Hartley’s hometown. Seven bands played as his casket was carried throughout the streets. Musicians, aldermen, police, clergy, miners, and the curious were all there to pay their respects to this Titanic hero. The world came to thank Hartley for his courage and for the courage of the other band members’ willingness to stay on deck and play, even while Titanic was taking her last dive. Their courage and bravery was not in vain. The world that day said, “thank you.”*
1. How does your life reflect faithfulness to Christ?
2. What in your life would need to change for you to become a more faithful follower of Jesus?
Hebrews 11: 1-40