As a result of this, I came across an article about the commercialisation of Everest which contained this almost unbelievable picture of a “summit day” in May 2019.
It shows literally hundreds of people queuing on a ridge no more than a metre or two wide, at an altitude most of us experience only within the safety and comfort of a plane. The precariousness of the situation screams out at you.
Yet many of us, myself included, are guilty of this approach in our Christian lives. We have allowed so many people or things to get to the top spot in life where Christ alone should be. And when He does not have His proper place, all these other relationships and priorities are actually very precariously balanced and constantly at risk of tumbling down. It is no accident that when Christ was asked which commandments were the most important, He cited them in this order:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength ... Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31 CSB).
Man is a natural worshipper; and when the prime object of that worship isn’t God, disaster ultimately ensues. As Christians, we’re often adept at recognising (and condemning) the obvious “idols” that the world goes after – such as success, fame, sex, money, music, films and sports – but there are many legitimate areas of life that can steal our hearts. Whether it’s friendships, church ministries, holidays, marriage, home or family – if Christ doesn’t have the pre-eminence, our Christian walk is in as much jeopardy as the lives of those on Everest that day.
The Lord summed it up in the Gospels with both a warning and a promise:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, and even his own life – he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26 CSB).
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29 CSB).
How gracious is our God to reward us when we can never give Him as much as He has given us! And how perfect is His design for us, in that, if we do give Christ the place He deserves, all these other relationships and areas will flourish too. Matthew Henry explains it like this:
“Not that their persons must be in any degree hated, but our comfort and satisfaction in them must be . . . swallowed up in our love to Christ”.
Photo Credit: NIMSDAU PROJECT POSSIBLE/AP