Wilhelm was a mountaineer’s guide in Switzerland. Whenever people wanted to climb the Swiss Alps, they would ask Wilhelm to guide them because he was sure of foot and hand and eye, and because he knew the safest paths to the top. Wilhelm had spent his whole life guiding climbing parties to the tops of the mountains and then guiding them along the more difficult downward trail.
Word came to Wilhelm one day that a party of climbers had begun the ascent without a guide and were lost in a blizzard which had come up without warning. Without losing a moment, Wilhelm went out to search for them. That was the last time poor Wilhelm was seen. When the storm was over they found him. On the slippery, treacherous mountain slope in the blinding blizzard he had slipped and fallen into a cleft in the rocks. They buried him there on the mountainside that he had loved so much.
The people of the village at the foot of the mountain were so proud of Wilhelm that they wanted to put a tombstone over his head. There was a long discussion about what words they would carve into the stone. After much argument they decided on these words, “He died as he had lived—climbing.”
That is a beautiful epitaph to put over any man’s grave. What a wonderful thing it would be if, after we are dead and gone, the same thing could be said about us, “He died climbing.” Life is a constant upward climb. Even when the road is hard and a storm is howling, we must keep trying and keep climbing upward, ever upward. That is life. The secret of always climbing is found in this morning’s text, “Whatever you do in word or in word, do all in name of the Lord Jesus.”
There will come many times in you lives when you are disappointed and discouraged. You just don’t feel like trying any more or climbing any more. Say to yourselves, “Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Then, in the name of the Lord Jesus, try once more. There will come times when everything seems to go wrong. In the name of the Lord Jesus, try just once more. Things will seem so mixed up that there does not seem to be any way of straightening them out. In the name of the Lord Jesus, try just once more. You have prayed and prayed for something and the answer seems just as far away as when you began. In the name of the Lord Jesus, pray just once more.
An athlete who breaks a world’s record does not do it the first time he tries. He keeps saying to himself, “I’ll try just once more, until the record is broken.” Life is just the same. We must not allow ourselves to become discouraged. “Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Like Wilhelm the mountain climber, we must keep trying. We must die climbing, onward and upward to God.
~ “Heirs of the Kingdom,” Imprimatur 1949 ~