This week I saw the new movie about the 1996 expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest where many people lost their lives. The movie had great production value and was quite captivating, however I found myself deeply reflecting on the real lives that inspired the true story and the tragedy of what stories like this say about humanity.
What I find incredible is the number of people who seek to climb the world’s highest peak and will even risk their lives to be one of the few who have ever done it. Since Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first reached the summit in 1953 over 4,000 people have also conquered the mountain, yet approximately 250 people have lost their lives in the attempt.
Why would so many people attempt such a thing? Simple: To live the rest of their lives hanging on to that single moment of glory.
What is the “Mount Everest” you are trying to climb in life? Is is a mountain of fortune? Fame? What is the moment of glory you are seeking in life? If you have already reached your “summit” in life, what event or events comprise your “glory years?”
Watching the movie I think of the irony of the people who tried to strive for such a risky goal only to reach it and then be soon forgotten or to die in the process. I don’t want to minimize the real people who have died trying to conquer such a dream, but you have to ask yourself: Is there honestly any worldly goal in life that is worth losing your life over?
Maybe this is why Jesus told us not to love the things of this world:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
– 1 John 2:15-17
The world is passing away, and as it goes so will all our trophies, all our accomplishment and all the lists of people who have reached their proverbial summit in life. The only thing that will last forever is God and the works we do for His kingdom. We should lay up our treasures in heaven, not on this earth.
“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
In life we can either seek to glorify God of glorify ourselves. If we choose correctly and seek to glorify God we can rest assured that our labor won’t be in vain. When making this decision we should keep in mind that our lives are like vapor. They only appear for a moment and then they vanish away. (James 4:14)
A couple more take aways I gleaned from the some of the characters and what happened to them in the movie are as follows. I want to be ambiguous so I won’t spoil the movie if you want to see it, but it will make sense if you know the story:
- In life we could seek to escape our depression by climbing a mountain, or attempting to conquer some insurmountable feat, but we could also lose a part of ourself on the process.
- We can spend our lives trying to immortalize ourselves here on earth, and hope that accomplishing the impossible will inspire others to also strive for their dreams, but this plan could backfire on us.
- If your passion or love is channeled into the wrong thing, it can kill you and your family can suffer the consequences.
The amazing truth is that if we have put our trust in Jesus Christ, we already have eternity to look forward to. We don’t need to seek our own glory in this life, in fact our lives should be spent trying to give glory to God, not seeking it for ourselves.
Countless people throughout history have focused all their energy trying to write their name in the sands of time, hoping to never be forgotten. While some will be remembered for their amazingly good deeds, some for their heinously evil ones and others for their ingenious accomplishments the truth is there is really only one way to never be forgotten. That is to know and to be known by God Himself, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:13)
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
– John 17:3
Will you spend your life trying to be immortalized in the hearts of men or devote your life to gain an eternity with God?