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Look a Little Higher…

Pastor Stephen Lundquist addressed a large audience for commencement this year. He shared about one of the greatest moments in his life when he met and visited with Sir Edmund Hillary, the first climber to summit Mt. Everest. 

“Near the end of our visit I asked him, ‘what were you thinking as you stood on the summit?’ He looked at me with kind eyes as he answered. ‘You know, we had no idea how big of a deal our accomplishment was to the world below us. It was all over the newspapers and the radio. But we didn’t climb it for the fame. We climbed it because we love to climb.’

And now over a decade later – the legend has since passed away – but his words ring in my ears. ‘We didn’t climb it for the fame. We climbed it because we love to climb.’ He wasn’t concerned about what was going on below him. Instead, he did what he loved while focusing on what was above him. That sounded important.

He did what he loved while focusing on what was above him.

And so the critical question: What are you looking at?”

As Pastor Stephen asked the question, he brought out a very long pipe. He held the pipe upright and vertical, towering over the crowd below him, while he shared the rest of his message:  

“It is incredible how quickly life becomes unbalanced when I focus on the wrong thing. If I focus on the bottom of this pipe it is impossible to balance. Perhaps this could be compared to focusing excessively on ourselves. We call this navel-gazing and it often leads to great discouragement or great conceit. If I focus halfway up the pipe, I am more successful at balancing. But it is still impossible. Perhaps this could be compared to focusing excessively on other people. When we do this we will eventually experience deep disappointment because people are, well, people.

Class of 2015. Look a little higher…

When you experience failure…look a little higher. (and he raised the pipe higher…)

When you experience success…look a little higher. (and a little higher…)

When people disappoint you…look a little higher. (a little higher…)

When people exceed your expectations…look a little higher. (a little higher…)

When you are lonely, scared, hopeful, inspired…look…a…little…higher. (and a little higher…) In the words of the author of Hebrews: Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. Read of him, talk of him, meditate on him, talk to him, listen to him, say “yes” to him. And as you look to Him you just might find that the words to that century-old song are true indeed:

‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.’”

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