Higher Heights

“There were just people everywhere,” Ayisha Jessa, 31, a climber from London who recently visited Everest’s base camp, told BBC Magazine. At the nearby village of Namachi, she said, “It’s completely commercialized — everything is intended for the Western traveller.”
The price to climb Mount Everest can range from $10,000 to $100,000, and in 2012, nearly $12 million was spent on permits and guides to hike Mount Everest in Nepal, Mark Jenkins wrote at National Geographic.
The high volume of hikers is causing problems on the mountain, from litter and sanitation issues to time wasted waiting at crucial points along the trail, the National Geographic and BBC articles said.” (www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22680192)

When I first read this, it wasn’t the corrupting effects of commercialization or Western conquest that kept nipping at my thoughts, but the question, “What if all this energy and money were spent on actually doing good?” I know I’m opening a Pandora’s box of opinions as to what is actually a worthy endeavor, but I think the issue is too relevant to ignore.

Seeking the high of facing personal fears and weaknesses in the grandeur and beauty of Creation is understandable – admirable even.

But in the end, the thrills really only benefit their seeker.

In my mind, a scenario began to play where these adventurers paused to consider the cost in money, time, blood, sweat, and tears contrasted with someone else’s need, someone far from the mountain top, someone in the valley of despair.
In my vision, the chains linking the climbers together for safety became a reminder of those in chains, not for safety, but slavery.

It’s cheaper to free a slave than to climb Mt. Everest.
But Everest is not the issue; it is an indicator – a caution sign.

Forgetting the traffic jam at base camp, I turn my attention to the clutter in my own schedule. How many of my resources are spent on personal thrills, oblivious to the needs around me? Are my priorities reflecting a self-centered focus to get or an outward focus of giving?

Please, don’t allow the shadow of condemnation to darken these questions. God forbid!
Instead, may they cast His light, separating the essential from the trivial, the eternal from the fleeting. Only He can tell us which is which.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Who doesn’t long for that security?!
Who doesn’t want their heart to soar – higher than Mount Everest – not weighed down by other thrill-seekers, but carrying the broken in the strength of His call?

“We can do no great things – only small things with great love.”
“I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time – just one, one, one. So you begin. I began – I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn’t pick up that one person, I wouldn’t have picked up forty-two thousand….The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same thing in your church, your community. Just begin – one, one, one.” ~Mother Teresa

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