Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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It just sounds weird: "Mount Everest is closed." But that was the headline No one was going to climb that most iconic of all mountaineering quests, because 16 Sherpa guides were lost on the mountain, as blocks of ice as big as automobiles cascaded down on them.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Mount Everest is Closed."

You don't venture onto that peak without a Sherpa. They are the legendary people of the mountain; the guides who take climbers there - climbers who pay up to $100,000 to the Nepalese government to go. And the Sherpas didn't want the mountain "open for business" the rest of the year because it had cost too much. Did you know getting to the top of a mountain often does.

Our personal "Everest's"; that treasured goal that we're driven to achieve. "I will be married no matter what." So many who conquered that slope now wish they had never dreamed the dream, because it turned into a nightmare.

"I will get to the top in what I do, whatever it takes." Only to sacrifice a spouse, a marriage, a child, a good name to get there. A price too high to pay. "My kid's going to be a winner. I'll make sure of it." So he or she becomes more of a performer than a person. A creation of a parent's ego rather than the person God made them to be. A robot programmed to please, but dangerously lonely and stressed.

Success. We each have our own definition. And there's nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to climb our mountain. But in the words of Jesus, "Count the cost" in relationships, in integrity. What's it going to cost you in your health, in the lives of your children, in your personal peace?

No conquest, no dream is worth ending up in the emergency room with a medical crisis of your own or the emotional meltdown of someone you love, leaving behind you a trail of people wounded or crushed as you race for your finish line. That's a price too high to pay.

I've seen it too many times. Driving for a goal - even a noble goal - can make you blind to the needs around you and deaf to their cries, and oblivious to the cost until the avalanche.

Jesus asked a haunting question. It's in our word for today from the Word of God in Mark 8:36. It is worth thinking about seriously. "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" And so many have. It's a price too high to pay.

Isn't it amazing that we keep climbing these mountains thinking that surely the peace I've been looking for, the significance I've been looking for, the meaning I've been looking for, the wholeness I've been looking for in my soul, it will be at the top of this mountain. You got to the top of the mountain and it wasn't there. Or you think it's going to be at the top of the mountain, but the people who've been there have found nothing there.

There's a reason for that, because we were never meant ultimately to find our happiness, and find our wholeness, and find our identity in anything other than the person who gave us our life in the first place. And that is the God who put us here. It says in the Bible, "You were created by Him and for Him." And we've lived for everything else but Him. There's only one hill you can climb, only one mountain, where you're going to find what you're looking for. It's called Skull Hill in the Bible. There's a cross at the top, and that is where God's Son died to pay the price to reunite you and me with the God who fills the hole in our soul and who holds our eternity in His hands.

Maybe you've been climbing the wrong hills. Maybe you've been climbing the wrong mountains. It's time to find your way to where Jesus has died for you and say, "Jesus, I am Yours." And to finally find what has eluded you for a lifetime that can only be found in Him. If you've never done that, and you say, "I wish I knew how to begin that personal relationship with Him." I want to invite you to our website where I'd love to show you how - ANewStory.com. Because there is no Everest that is worth giving up an irreplaceable treasure.