During the 1920s, Mallory led a series of expeditions to conquer Mt. Everest.
The first expedition failed, as did the second. Then Mallory led a third
assault. But in spite of careful planning and extensive safety precautions, Mallory and most of his companions were killed.
When the remaining members of Mallory’s team returned to England, they honored their fallen comrades at a banquet. As the leader of the survivors stood to acknowledge the applause, he turned his back to the crowd and stared at the enormous picture of Mt. Everest that hung behind the banquet table. The man addressed the mountain. “I speak to you, Mt. Everest, in the name of all the brave men living and those yet unborn. Mt. Everest, you defeated us three times. But, Mt. Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can’t get any bigger and we can.”
The motto of the French Foreign Legion is little known but wholly consistent with the popular impression of that elite corps: “If I falter, push me on. If I stumble, pick me up. If I retreat, shoot me.”
Acts of personal bravery and heroism never fail to thrill and inspire us, reaffirming as they do man’s ability to rise above adverse circumstances or impossible odds. But courage is not simply a matter of doing, but being as well. Indeed, it may require more valor to be a certain person than to do a certain thing. After all, what does it take to preserve one’s personal integrity day after day? It takes the courage to endure. And what does it take to rely on God? The courage to trust.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls His followers to live courageously (Matthew 5:13-16). He challenges them to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He simply asks us to be what we profess to be—Christians. But that is no small order. In fact, it takes more courage than any mountain climber could ever muster. It takes a courage that has been born of a new life in Christ and nurtured by the Spirit of God Himself. Yes, that’s what it takes to be a Christian.
Kenneth G. Hodder, The War Cry