Recently someone gave me a book called It’s Our Ship by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, former commander of the USS Benfold. Captain Abrashoff is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and previously penned a New York Times best seller called It’s Your Ship. The leadership lessons in both books are well worth reviewing but I was most impressed as I read the introduction to his second book.
He had enormous success as commander of his ship in the Pacific Fleet, and enjoyed the accolades of those who watched his outstanding career. The USS Benfold was the star ship, winning the prestigious Spokane Trophy as the most combat-ready ship in the entire Pacific Fleet! Following his illustrious naval service, Captain Abrashoff traveled and spoke to groups all over the world about his success as a leader. Between writing the first and second books, however, he had an epiphany of sorts and made a surprising discovery.
Captain Abrashoff realized that though he always strove to be the best captain he could be, he never considered sharing his wealth of learning with others. His military experience had taught him the value of:
- A crew and ship that was battle-ready and prepared.
- A team that had bought into the mission.
- A system that far exceeded anyone’s standards.
What he came to acknowledge was that if one of the other ships in the group failed, it was possible that the entire battle fleet could be compromised. If such exposure should occur, it would not matter if his ship was the best.
In a world that puts so much stock in individual success, it’s refreshing to be reminded that the greatest accomplishments are to be measured against whether the whole mission succeeds. Jesus prayed in John 17:20-21a, “My prayer is not for them (his close-knit disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one.” (NIV)
If you’ve experiencing an extraordinary season of God’s grace and favor, rejoice! Share with others what you’re learning and be prepared for Him to use you to be a catalyst in their lives. They might just get ignited toward their own extraordinary season of blessing and fruitfulness. Then get ready to celebrate together over the goodness of the Lord!
“Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or of your importance…” Romans 12:3 (Phillips).