Life lessons for those who want to climb high . . .

Climb with a cause.

The night before we began our summit bid on Cotopaxi our guides gathered our team together for one final briefing. Abraham (our lead guide) had a map of the mountain. He showed us the route we would take to reach the summit. He explained that the first five hours of the climb our legs would take us up . . . the last two . . . our heart.

Nothing can substitute for physical preparation in a climb of this magnitude.  But perhaps more importantly, nothing can substitute for the “why” that motivates us to keep going when physical preparation runs out.

For our team, we were climbing for kids.  Kids living in poverty.

Months before the climb, we decided that this climb was about more than summiting, it was about raising money for children at risk in the country of Ecuador.  Our goal was to get sponsors “by the foot” of our climb, and, God willing, we would raise $100,000 for the children.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24, the Apostle Paul states that, In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize.  So run  to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away,  but we do it for an eternal prize.

At 5 A.M., after 5 1/2 hours of slogging up the mountain.  After 5 1/2 hours of crossing ice bridges, navigating treacherous ledges.  After 5 1/2 hours of taking one step up and sliding two steps back in fresh fallen powder.  The legs run out.  My climbing partner, Roberto, yells, “Greg, for the children.  For the children.”  And the heart takes over.

The same was true for every one of us.  And we all made it to the top.  For the children.

The same is true in our every day life.  Life is hard.  It’s a climb.  And if we don’t have a deeper purpose that is calling us to finish well, then we won’t make it to the top.

In the end, we raised more than $100,000 for the children.  It was a deep, deep joy to present checks to Compassion International and ChildReach Ministries that would make an eternal difference in the lives of hundreds of children.  An eternal prize.

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