Serving the Best Purpose
On June 23, 2021, an article appeared in the news entitled, “The Bodies of Dead Climbers on Everest Are Serving as Guideposts.” It explained that Mount Everest constitutes the world’s largest open-air graveyard, with more than 300 corpses littering its “death zone” – that area from 26,000 feet above sea level to the summit at 29,031 feet.
Why has no one recovered these dead bodies? Conditions are simply too extreme on the world’s highest mountain. Air pressure is only one third of that at sea level and temperatures hover at minus 50 degrees (F). Therefore, recovering dead bodies is discouraged. Two climbers died in an attempt to recover the body of German female climber, Hannelore Schmatz. On Mount Everest a climber can only devote himself to two tasks: summiting and self-preservation.
Now, based on the title of this article, you might expect to hear how these fallen mountaineers didn’t die in vain or that their corpses help “point the way” to the summit. You might hope to hear how those bodies of the dead help inspire future climbers.
But the very opposite is true. Of the 300-plus corpses in the death zone, only a few of these bodies actually serve as “markers” – and only to let climbers know how much further it is to the summit. All the other corpses only serve to warn climbers of the grave risks of their endeavor – if they hadn’t figured it out already. Those corpses remind climbers of the price they could pay for the boast of reaching the “roof of the world.”
Is that the purpose we hope our lives – and deaths – will serve? To be a warning of what not to do with one’s life? To be an example of a fool? To be like one of the members of the so-called “27-Club” – musicians who died of drug overdoses at the age of 27 (e.g. Ricky Pride, Rudy Lewis, Jimmi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Alan Wilson, Jim Morrison, Gary Thain, Amy Winehouse, etc.)? Imagine all the wonderful contributions these people might have made to society if they had lived out all the days God ordained for them!
And think about it. Just who would have benefitted if all those deceased mountaineers had reached the summit? Success would have only benefitted them – if you can call it a benefit. I suppose by climbing Mount Everest they’d have felt their existence was “justified.” But at what cost? On average, it costs a prospective climber over $75,000 to join an Everest expedition. And this price does not include costly clothing and equipment or, the investment of time and effort to physically condition oneself for the ordeal – all devoted to one self-serving enterprise.
And even if the climber summits, what benefit have they gained? That it makes them feel better about themselves? But what if it makes them arrogant and contemptuous of people too weak and feeble to do what they’ve done? Where’s the benefit in that?
Wouldn’t contributing to humanity do far more to justify one’s existence? Wouldn’t serving others bring about a greater benefit and serve a more valid purpose?
Actually, our lives already have validity, because God Himself has authored them. It was God who put us upon this planet. None of us muscled our way into life. None of us had any choice in the matter.
It’s true that our parents played a part in the decision. But our parents didn’t design the physical apparatus of reproduction nor did they direct our development in the womb. It was God who chose our gender, color, size, body configuration, voice, talents, abilities, and all the components of our personality. As King David wrote in Psalm 139:13, God “knit us together in our mother’s womb.” From eternity, God ordained and planned every day of our lives, before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).
So, don’t waste your life in a foolish and self-serving quest to “prove yourself” or to “justify your existence.” Instead, seek God’s will for your life. Offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice, so that He may use you for the very purpose He created you.
Heed the words of the apostle Paul. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaver, You alone know me, my true value, and what makes me tick. You alone know the purpose for which You created me. Therefore, I surrender my life to You and ask You to refine, perfect, and use me for Your glorious purpose. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
(Information from: https://allthatsinteresting.com/mount-everest-bodies; https://explorerspassage.com/chronicles/facts-mount-everest/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pop_musicians_who_died_of_drug_overdose)