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The Highest Mountain in Ireland (L.ALLEN)

I've always wanted to climb the highest mountain in Ireland. A few years ago, I got the chance. It was one of those rare occasions when everything appeared to be working out right. We were already down in Kerry on holiday, the weather was perfect and we had a map of the area. We knew it would be a long climb, so we set off early.

We were right. It was a long climb. It was much higher and steeper than I thought. Parts were almost too difficult for the children, but we were determined to do it. In fact had we not wanted to do it so badly, we would have given up, because frankly some parts of it were just a little too dangerous for comfort. But we were so keen to climb the highest mountain in Ireland that we pressed on.

The route we chose didn't appear to be a very good one and it took us a long time to get to the top. We were tired. The boys were young and had been a little frightened in some parts, but we had done it. Our determination had paid off.

When we got to the top, another man was already there. When he overheard me tell the boys that we were now on top of the highest mountain in Ireland he came over and had a word with me. "Excuse me," he said, "That's the highest mountain in Ireland over there." He pointed to another peak about a quarter of a mile away.

It's hard to believe but we had actually climbed the wrong mountain!

I thought about it the other day when I was reading Paul's letter to the church in Rome. "Brothers," he wrote, " My heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge."

Do you notice that? Paul says zeal is not enough. One of the great errors growing in strength today is, that how you decide to worship God is unimportant. What religious path you choose to follow doesn't matter; what matters is that you follow it zealously follow your own path of enlightenment, God will honour your commitment.

A man tried to explain this to me one time by saying, "After all, we're all climbing the same mountain!" His philosophy was that we were all climbing in own way towards God. Millions of people all taking their own route and someday we will all meet at the top.

My experience down in County Kerry was is that it didn't matter how hard I climbed or how badly I wanted to get there. When I eventually reached the top, I discovered that I had been climbing the wrong mountain!

If someone had told me that I was climbing the wrong mountain, I could have changed my way of going, but nobody did. So I carried on thinking I was going in the right way. All the commitment, all the determination to stand on top of Ireland's highest mountain didn't count for anything in the end. I had climbed the wrong mountain.

"Zeal", says Paul, "Is not enough”