The Unthinkable…

The local movie theater has a Tuesday deal, any movie $5/person all day. So we thought we’d go check out the new movie, “Everest”. It shows the real story of Rob Hall and his fatal climb of Mt. Everest in 1996. If there’s a movie to see in the theaters, this had to be one of them. The 3D version was $2 more so we took the splurge.

As we sat glued to our seats, some of us a little queasy at times, we were gripped at the emotion and risks of it all. Hollywood did a great job of aerial shots, sucking you into the mountainside, and making you feel like the lead character was your best friend. You felt as if you were part of the team climbing the mountain.

The night before the climb, in the team tent, a journalist asks the team the burning question…why climb Everest? All the climbers give him sort of a scoff along with a huff with many saying, “why not?” However, the journalist, being a journalist, pushes in…”come on, for real guys, why climb Everest?” To which nobody answers. He looks to the only female of the group. She responds, “I’ve climbed the other six peaks, so it just makes sense to climb the seventh.” No one in the group gave an answer I thought was really that compelling. So I came home to do some research of my own.

I googled and googled, Hollywood actually did a pretty good job at capturing “why climb Everest”. All the articles and interviews I have found basically boil down to, “just because”. So “just because” compels people to devote months, even years of their lives towards training for the opportunity to climb Mt. Everest. “Just because” drives an individual to pay $50,000+ to a guide. “Just because” persuades someone to put their life on the line. Wow.

As I laid in bed, I was struck at their insanity, or what some might call commitment or determination. I can think of a number of things to do “just because” that don’t involve any of the risks listed above. Yet God gives us many great things to actually do in a day with more compelling of a reason than “just because” to which I don’t do. But I’m not going to focus on the “not doing list”.

Do I go about the things of God I know to do with as much insanity and conviction as the climbers do in reaching their pinnacle? Honestly? It depends (I know, sounds like “just because” to me too). Seriously though, it depends on the day. I’d like to say I have bursts of greatness followed by lesser bursts of greatness, but really I fall short. In climbing Everest vernacular, the warm cozy bed on a freezing cold morning would keep me from attempting to put on layers of clothes and just stay in bed where it’s comfortable.

I want to tackle the Greatest Commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

I’m not sure if I could ever display enough commitment, determination, craziness, or lunacy in loving God with my whole heart, soul, and mind. That’s the thing though. What would the most extreme illustration of that look like? For a climber, I guess that means climbing Mt. Everest. For a believer and follower of Christ, I guess it could look different for each person? Depending on what God calls you to do? Who He compels you to love? I don’t know.

The second part, loving our neighbor, being in marriage ministry I’m going to focus on my spouse. I often say Laura’s the second most selfish person I know (and I’m not sure if she has a selfish bone in her body). I can be pretty selfish. I am really determined to accomplish the daily tasks that feed me and make me feel good, but am I taking the time, commitment, determination, and lunacy in loving Laura? I hope so.

My Mt. Everest? I guess the pinnacle I hope to reach may not come for another 40 years. At our 60th wedding anniversary. Both in our 90s, having committed a lifetime, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent together, and lack of oxygen. Yet, Lord willing, be able to say, “I’ve loved her well.” Why? Not “just because”, but because the God of the universe loved me with such love and chose to demonstrate that love to die on the Cross to save me, the wretched person I am. Yet, gives me the opportunity to love my neighbor because He first loved me.