In 2015, Hollywood released a movie called Everest. The movie is based on a true story of a group who set out to climb the tallest mountain on the planet. As you can imagine, in this dramatic story of struggle, defeat, glory, and tragedy, some characters make it to the top, while others do not. Some return to the bottom, and others don’t. Some return in one piece, while others are not as fortunate. As I watched this movie, I found myself asking the question, “Why do we climb mountains?“
A HIGH PRICE TO PAY
The group spends $65,000 for this grand expedition. These are, of course, not casual climbers. They had all climbed many mountains before. In fact, these climbers are very accomplished and experienced mountaineers who have conquered some of the world’s tallest peaks. They also had a professional guide service prepare, train, guide, and assist them in their quest to scale Mount Everest.
BUT FOR WHAT?
I think the most depressing thing about the film is not all the people who don’t survive, but the haunting question that remains after the credits roll: What was it all for?
- Consider the Risks Involved. One in every four climbers who challenge Everest die trying.
- Consider the Cost. All the money invested in such an expedition, all the time away from family, all the effort, all the risk… That is a high price to pay for a moment of adrenaline rush, a snapshot to put on your wall, or some sense of accomplishment, as if climbing a mountain actually achieves something of real, lasting value.
My guess is, you and I will never attempt to climb Mount Everest, but every time we make a significant investment on a project with such high stakes, we must ask ourselves the question: What is all this for?
WHAT IS ALL THIS FOR?
This should really be the question we ask ourselves in every situation. Every day, we make significant investments of our time, financial resources, emotional energy, and all we are and have. We may not climb actual mountains, but we are constantly taking risks. For what?
I guess the answer to this question depends on our priorities in life. Are we giving ourselves to things that ultimately don’t matter or matter very little? Do we invest ourselves in a quest for money, fame, or position, all of which matter very little in the big picture and won’t last long? Do we invest our lives in the pursuit of pleasure, prestige, or popularity? Are those really the things that matter, that fulfill, that last?
TAKE GOD'S VIEWPOINT
Scripture provides the answer for us:
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever
does the will of God lives forever. — 1 John 2:17
We are told the world and everything in it will pass away. Any investment or risk we take for things pertaining to this world will only temporarily pay off.