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Climbing With God

One of the stories that made the international news a few weeks ago, was the building of a new, what shall we call it:- Public Convenience. There was nothing special about its design as far as I know. It wasn't one of those coin operated "Superloos" which seem to so terrify the Great British Public. This was just a common or garden toilet. What was special about it, was where they built it.

It's been built on Mount Everest. Unbelievable isn't it?

Apparently there are so many people wanting to climb Everest these days, that you have to book it. There's a waiting list. The numbers at Base Camp are so great that it now warrants, perhaps even necessitates, a public toilet.

It knocks on the head that romantic notion of the heroic figure struggling alone in the snow against the elements doesn't it?

When we think of Everest, most folk think automatically of Edmund Hillary and Tensing who made it to the top in May 1953. I tend to think of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine.

George Mallory was the climber, who when asked why he wanted to climb Everest famously replied, "Because it's there!" In 1924 he and Andrew Irvine died in the attempt, just 1,000 feet short of the summit.

But, back to the toilet, as they say!

They're not building the toilet at the top of Everest of course, they're building it down at Base Camp on the lower slopes. You don't need a toilet at the top, hardly anyone makes the top. You need it lower down where the crowds are.

A very close Christian friend said to me a few months ago. "The higher you try to climb spiritually, the lonelier it gets."

Under some circumstances, that would sound arrogant, but I know his circumstances and he wasn't being arrogant.

He's a Christian leader responsible for the spiritual welfare of a large number of people;- but he fears that they suffer from spiritual vertigo;- they're afraid of spiritual heights.

They want to be part of the expedition of course;- they are keen to be regarded as Christians and they'll come to church, but they're content to mill around on the lower slopes. They're afraid of climbing too high with God.

God wants us to climb higher, to move into that rarefied atmosphere where God is real and His Presence tangible. To scale great heights where the air is clear and from where the world looks small and insignificant. But His people won't go. We want to stay at base camp. There's lots of company there and good facilities and little risk.

Those who are keen to go for the summit are often isolated. Regarded as fanatical by their companions, they're out on their own in the deep snow with God. "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are before they press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus";- but they're on their own.

God knows that, like Mallory, we're never going to reach the top in this life, but He wants us, like Mallory, to die trying. (L.Allen)

Take    the    breaks    off!

“ The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa. But their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work” Neh 3:5

Against all odds, they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem! but sadly, the record reads that some of them would not put their shoulders to the work! Could that be said of you???

I’m reminded of the two Englishmen, riding their tandem up a hill. When they finally made it to the top, exhausted, the one on the back seat said, “ Man, you’re lucky. If I hadn’t kept the brakes on, we’d have slid back down the hill again!!” You may smile, but a lot of God’s people live with the brakes on. They speak of being “balanced”, ”prudent” or “not making waves”. The Truth is, they don’t even make a ripple.

Florence Nightingale, who became a legend working among the wounded and dying soldiers, said, “Now I know what it is to live and love life....I wish for no other earth, no other World than this!!” She’d found her place and her passion - anything else is just existing.

On the summit of Mt.Everest, there’s a marker in memory of one of the oldest climbers ever to attempt it. It simply reads “ He died climbing” Child of God, make that you testimony! Harold Kushner says” Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, so that our lives matter and the world will at least be a little bit better for our having passed through it.”

Whatever God has called you to do, build cathedrals or sweep streets, when you find God’s purpose for your life take the brakes off and give it everything you’ve got - STARTING RIGHT NOW!