Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

9 August 2010

Why do we "climb it because it's there?" Does there have to be an issue to climb for?

"I climbed it because it was there"

It's the answer English mountaineer George Mallory famously gave in the 1920's about why he WANTED to climb Mount Everest. On his third try, they last saw him a few miles from the summit before disappearing... for almost 80 years. They found his frozen body in 1999 and the debate still rages about whether he made it or not.

The first man to OFFICIALLY reach the summit was Sir Edmund Hillary (along with a Sherpa) in 1953. I think the one-upmanship of what Hillary said about Mallory's attempt is kinda morbidly hilarious:

"If you climb a mountain for the first time and die on the descent, is it really a complete first ascent of the mountain? I am rather inclined to think personally that maybe it is quite important, the getting down, and the complete climb of a mountain is reaching the summit and getting safely to the bottom again."


What compels people to go do things that hasn't been done before? This competitive, ground-taking attitude seems to be burned into the functional DNA of many (but certainly not all) people.

Today I watched an amazing TED talk by Ben Saunders who did a solo ski expedition across the Arctic. He's a funny an self effacing guy who is clearly just COMPELLED to do things because they haven't been done. No real "issue". Just climbing (or skiing) it because it's there to be climbed (or skied).

Today in the Toronto Star, there is a story about Ed Stafford. He just spent 859 days WALKING across the Amazon. He DOES want to raise awareness of the importance of the rain forest... but it's kind of just an extra. It's not what drives him.

"If this wasn't a selfish, boy's-own adventure, I don't think it would have worked. I am simply doing it because no one has done it before."

Again and again, throughout human history, there are people who MUST conquer... something. The thing depends on person, place, time and space. But that urge can be so undeniable and strong that it takes actual work and intention to quash it. And most do. Because being an apostle... is tough.

At Freedom House, we spend a great deal of time studying the Spiritual Gifts. They are so important to man understanding who we were individually created to be. It helps us thrive personally on a daily basis and gives us a legitimate fighting chance of having fulfilling accomplishments over the course of your life. It also helps us understand each other... because not everyone has this compulsion. And that's good!

There is a whole of Apostolic undertones in the "I climbed it because it was there" compulsion. An Apostle is "one sent with a mission". They typically are compelled to go and do something that has never been done before. They are aware that it can be a lonely and costly expedition that might even result failure or personal death... but they know they MUST go this mission. Part of them KNOWS it's so others can go down that after them freely... but it's not necessarily THAT, that drives them.

I would submit that the self-aware and learned "Apostles" better understand the spiritual implications of their actions... and it's a partial motivating factor. But the number of "Apostles" that just conquer because something inside them tells them that they MUST... tells me that quite often the motivation to do what we're CALLED to do is already burning inside us waiting for us to just respond to the heat. It REQUIRES setting out by faith into the unknown and letting God decide the results of obedience.

George Mallory had no idea how history would see his mountain climb. Few Apostles do. They just know that there is a mountain to climb and they MUST do it.

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