Before you climb this mountain, pay for your funeral

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Before you climb this mountain, pay for your funeral

August 8, 2022 - Jim Denison, PhD

Mont Blanc summit © By Soloviova Liudmyla/stock.adobe.com

Mont Blanc summit © By Soloviova Liudmyla/stock.adobe.com

If you are planning to climb Mont Blanc in France, know that you may have to pay a deposit of $15,370 to cover rescue and funeral costs.

Jean-Marc Peillex is mayor of Saint-Gervais, a village at the foot of Western Europe’s highest mountain. He says the average cost of a rescue on the mountain is ten thousand euros; funeral costs are five thousand euros. “It is unacceptable for the French taxpayer to cover those costs,” he stated in a press release.

He also told the BBC, “I wanted to make people react, to understand that today it’s very dangerous, almost suicidal to go up.” He has not yet issued a legal ruling on the proposed deposit, but he claims to have the power to impose it.

Here’s another story that caught my eye: the longest-tenured Post Office employee in America recently celebrated seventy years on the job. When Johnnie Bell started work with the Oklahoma City Postal Service at the age of twenty-three, the pay was $1.81 an hour. He has been there his entire career.

When he was celebrated for his service recently, he said, “Thanks so much for this recognition. This is just something I do because I enjoy doing it.” A colleague said of him, “He is truly a public servant.”

“Through love serve one another”

Our culture encourages us:

Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
’Till you find your dream

Our postmodern worldview says your truth is as valid as our truth. You can “climb any mountain” you choose.

But there are consequences to your decisions that the rest of us must pay.

If you die on Mont Blanc, someone must pay for your funeral. Abortion costs the life of the innocent unborn child. The so-called sexual revolution is costing society in sex trafficking, child pornography, and wrecked marriages, families, and lives. Transgender female athletes win competitions at the expense of biological women. Sexual freedom increasingly violates religious freedom.

That’s why Johnnie Bell’s story is to be celebrated: he found a way to serve. He chose a life that helps others and has experienced personal fulfillment as a consequence.

Such an approach to life is exceedingly biblical: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Paul encouraged us: “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

When we choose to serve, we follow the example of our Lord: “Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

But there’s a catch.

“Walk in a manner worthy of God”

Before we can serve others well, we must be servants ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have or lead where we will not go.

That’s why the first mountain we must climb is personal godliness.

Paul was adamant: “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5). The apostle added, “God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (vv. 7–8).

Here’s the good news: we can do this. We can “know how to control” our bodies “in holiness and honor” with the help of the Holy Spirit. As we work, God works. If we do what only we can do, he will do what only he can do.

In this way, we can “walk in a manner worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:12) each day.

“The aim of our charge is love”

Our highest “mountain” is loving our Lord and loving our neighbor (Mark 12:30–31). To do both well: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

When last did you ask the Spirit to help you examine your heart, conscience, and faith by these standards? Why not today?

As you choose to love God and others well today, remember: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). St. Catherine of Siena reminded us that Jesus “went down from the heights of his divinity to the depths of our humanity.”

Then she asked, “Can anyone’s heart remain closed and hardened after this?”

Can yours?

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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