Saturday 20th of July 2019 America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Aldrin set foot on the Moon nineteen minutes after Armstrong first touched the surface while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. Armstrong had the privilege of being known as the first man on the moon, Aldrin as the first astronaut with a doctoral degree and the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon when he privately took communion, while Collins remains oft-forgotten and not as well-known as the other two.
Armstrong was commander of Apollo 11, Aldrin was the lunar module pilot and Michael Collins command module pilot. Therefore, Collins stayed behind in lunar orbit. Aldrin was placed opposite side to the opening hatch and so to get out first, it would have been necessary “for one bulky-suited, back-packed astronaut to climb over another,” NASA wrote. Armstrong, the commander of Apollo 11, was nearest to the opening and so was chosen to be the first one on the moon. The mission was a success because each one took the position given to them and did their individual parts with care and commitment. The goal of man reaching the moon had to take and did take precedence and priority over individual preferences, desires or aspirations.
In India, in its rural areas and villages, the rustic bullock cart held and still holds a position of importance for its utility in transporting goods and people. The most crucial part of the cart is not the animals, or the superstructure or even the driver. Important though each of these are, they are less critical than a small nail that’s the pivot fixing the wheel and the superstructure as one. In races, all that a rival or adversary would need to do, is just quietly slide it out and slip away. The nail’s absence is not even felt or seen until the cart starts moving a distance as at first no change in perceptible. A short time later, the whole thing will collapse, throwing violently its occupants and causing great damage depending on the speed of the cart.
“For Want of a Nail” is a popular nursery rhyme and proverb, dating back to the 14th century.
So also, in life, there are those who seem to be insignificant and invisible, but oh so critical and essential to a task or project. In a team, everyone, small or big,visible or invisible, recognized or not have their own role and contribution to make. A wise leader will always acknowledge even ‘the least of these’ though outsiders may not. Everyone is important for the total success of the project.
As the Apostle Paul admonished the Christians in Rome, Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Bible, book of Romans 12:3).If Collins had not remained in orbit, the other two wouldn’t have been able to return to the earth. Remember they were part of Apollo 11 mission, meaning that there were several missions that had been attempted before this one succeeded. Every step of a stairway is needed to reach the top.
Let’s never forget that it was just a nail that sealed the fate of a Kingdom!