I have been reading an interesting book written by a great mountain climber. His name is Todd Skinner and the name of the book is “Beyond the Summit”. I have never gone mountain climbing, I have hiked on some big hills and decided I like being on the ground below. This guy is incredible. He talks about the principles he has learned from climbing and how that can apply to our work and personal lives. His first major point is this “You are the product of your mountains”, wow how true is that. All of us face mountains in our lives and those mountain define who we are. Some mountains eat our lunch, other we conquer; regardless we must face the mountains and climb them if we want to become the person God intended us to be.
He goes on to say this ” Each mountain you climb will change you, and the more challenging the mountain, the more you have to gain from the ascent. Your mountains include not only those you have climbed, but the mountains that others have climbed whose lessons you internalize; and the mountains you dream about climbing, which make you better before you ever set foot on them, and inspire you even if you never set foot on them.”
As I think about that quote I can’t help but think about the challenges our church has faced. The many mountains we have had to climb and the many others we learned from. Too often we stand at the foot of a mountain and are content to just make camp and stay there. It is comfortable at the foot of the mountain, it is safe, it is familiar, but it is not good. God made us for adventure, to lead and grow, to learn and climb. I also believe that each mountain we do climb prepares us for the next one. Even if we don’t make it all the way to the top we learn along the way and are more prepared for the next one. I am thankful for the leaders in our church that have continued to climb and not stay safly in the base camp.
Later in the book he makes another profound statement that hit me between the eyes. He said “If you are not afraid, you have probably chosen too easy a mountain.” Whoa, hold on a minute, I like easy mountains. The first time I went snow skiing I went to the Kiddy hill and fell all over the place. I guess I was a little scared of even that small hill until I learned how to ski properly. Skinner says “To be worth the expedition, to field a team to climb this mountain, it had better be intimidating. If you don’t stand at the base uncertain how to reach the summit, then you have wasted the effort to get there. A mountain well within your ability is not only a misspending of resources, it is a loss of opportunity across a lifetime of potential achievement.”
Again, if we as a church are looking for easy mountains to climb we won’t make much of an impact. But if that vision is so big that we are standing at the base without a clue how we will reach the summit then I am in. I am tired of living it safe and staying at the camp. I want to start climbing and learn on the way. The church should be looking for the biggest mountain in the world to climb. We should be leading the way on impacting the world and making a difference. I love it when Dwight says he wants to change the world; I can be a part of that.
Skinner goes on to say “Being afraid shows that you are crossing the frontier edge of your comfort zone, and right where it starts to get uncomfortable is where you begin to grow.” The only time you grow is when you take a risk and get out on the edge of your comfort zone. It may be to pray put loud with someone, it may be to lead a small group, it may be to volunteer to serve at the church, it may be to go get help for your marriage, it may be to reach out to your neighbor, it may be to reconcile a broken relationship, it may be to change the way you spend your money, it may be getting baptized, it may be sharing your testimony, it may be finding another job, or staying right where you are, it may be getting help for an addiction to alcohol or drugs or pornography. I don’t know what you are afraid of, but if you are not afraid you are not even close to growing. God helps you to face the fear, walk through the fear and begin to change the world. It starts with you and me, together we are the church and we can change the world.
I feel like I am standing at the base of the biggest mountain I have ever seen. I have been practicing and getting ready for this climb, but the time has come to start climbing. Opportunity always arrives with a little uncertainty and that uncertainly is paving the way to a huge reward. God has a plan for me and for you, but we must start climbing. He won’t lift our feet and force us to climb but He will clear a path and give a a foothold and give the gifts and ability we need at the right time. There will be setbacks and obstacles along the way because we have an enemy that does not want us to climb. When those obstacles come keep your eyes on Jesus to provide the right way and keep right on climbing. See you at the SUMMIT!