This month marks the one hundredth anniversary of the day that the most famous of all ships carried 1,522 people to their watery graves.
Did you know that the Titanic was three football fields long? She was eleven stories tall and ninety-two feet wide. The infamous ship tipped the scales at 46,000 tons.
At the time, she was the largest and most luxurious ship ever built. This vessel “fit for a king” could carry nearly 3,000 passengers and crew. She had her own swimming pools, suites, restaurants, Turkish baths and squash courts. There was even a Parisian sidewalk café complete with strolling musicians.
With sixteen water-tight compartments below sea level, the Titanic was deemed unsinkable. Fourteen thousand workers at the Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders in Belfast spent thirty-six months assembling this beautiful craft. They took pride in the fact that she was the most seaworthy vessel ever constructed.
The Titanic was the pride of the White Star Line. Perhaps it was the belief that this vessel was so seaworthy that there were less than half the number of recommended lifeboats installed. No one could imagine a situation in which every passenger and crew member would need one.
With a sense of his own pride, Captain Edward Smith was determined to complete the journey from England to New York in record time. Since the maiden voyage of the Titanic would be his last before retiring, he had this one last opportunity to achieve his desired legacy and line his pockets.
To achieve his goal, Captain Smith knew he would have to move his vessel at 26 knots day and night in order to arrive in New York’s harbor in six days. His pride trumped prudence.
On the evening of April 14, 1912 the Titanic struck an iceberg and was swallowed up in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. The ship “not even God could sink” sank. Only 706 lived to tell of the unthinkable nightmare.
As we ponder the tragic circumstances of the Titanic, it might be well to reflect on the “icebergs” in our lives that could capsize our dreams. As with Captain Smith, the lust for power, popularity and wealth puts us on a collision course with pride, arrogance and failure.
We might think we are unsinkable, but as a bumper sticker aptly suggests “Don’t believe everything you think!”
Or as wise King Solomon warns us, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV)
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