Would you want to die for Mt. Everest?

A surprising number of people have given their lives to the highest mountain on earth. Mt. Everest has become a recent danger zone because there are too many climbers wanting to ascend its slopes and peaks.

The lines of people up the mountain are like a giant snake stretched out and linked close together, like an amusement park ride waiting line. Death is close due to altitude sickness, avalanches, accidents from overcrowding and people’s mistakes.

Everest is one of the most difficult and dangerous life-threatening challenges on earth. People pay $70,000 to attempt to climb it. The quest has taken thousands of lives.

A recent news report about the newest danger of overcrowding on Mt. Everest got my attention. Questions arose within me. Why are people drawn to “no hope” adventures? Why do people invest in “dead end” extreme experiences? What are the benefits?

With Everest, I’m told, the view from the top of the world is breathtaking. But I’ve seen it! There is some amazing aerial photography and video footage from an aircraft that did it for me.

It is argued that being able to say “I did it!” — i.e., personal achievement — is a reason to attempt the climb.

The question that climbing Mt. Everest poses for me is this: “Is it worth risking my life?”

I can argue for a few things that are worth the sacrifice of my life, and all of them have the element of hope in them.

Giving others the gospel of Jesus Christ would be at the top of my list. Protecting and providing for my family would be another. So would serving the cause of freedom in the world.

Jesus taught that there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for a friend. What about doing it every day for people you may not know very well or at all? Police officers, firefighters, military service members as well as rescue teams do it every day. Every one of these ventures are carriers of hope.

Romans 8 contains these intriguing words by Paul, the apostle: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God … For in this hope we were saved” (verses 18, 19 and 24).

Hope is fueled by the promise that every person, if he or she wants it, can live forever with their Creator, even if they die. That’s better than finding a cure for cancer.

In a world that runs after emptiness, the secret of finding hope and having hope is no secret. It starts with a story about a man on a cross …

D

avid Woods is part of the preaching staff at Park Chapel Christian Church. This weekl

y column is written by local clergy members.