I’m sure you all remember the children’s story of the little train who said, “I think I can.” The message was one to inspire and to motivate hard work and effort. We are all encouraged by tales of great determination and courage.
One such tale is of Xia Boyu, Chinese man, age 69 who has attempted to conquer Mt. Everest, his lifelong dream. Xia’s first attempt was in 1975 as part of a Chinese government-supported expedition. However, bad weather stranded him close to the top of the mountain where oxygen levels are low and unexpected storms can be deadly. Though he made it down alive, he suffered severe frostbite and lost both feet. He was later diagnosed with blood cancer, requiring both legs to be amputated below the knee.
He returned to Everest in 2014 and 2015, but was unable to attempt a climb after the season was canceled due to natural disasters. In 2016, he made it within 700 feet of the summit before being forced to abandon the climb. Double amputee, Xia Boyu, 69, conquered Everest early Monday on his fifth attempt, ending a 43-year battle with the 29,029-foot giant, AFP reported.” Newsweek, msn.com It is amazing to see what man can do when he sets his mind to it. Of course, I am thinking on the spiritual side of this coin. Biblically, we find a tremendous amount of encouragement in the Apostle Paul’s statement, “I can do all things.” But that’s not all the statement; it says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13. “We have here an account of Paul’s learning, not that which he got at the feet of Gamaliel, but that which he got at the feet of Christ. He had learnt to be content; and that was the lesson he had as much need to learn as most men, considering the hardships and sufferings with which he was exercised. He was in bonds, and imprisonments, and necessities, often; but in all he had learnt to be content, that is, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. – I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound, Phi_4:12. This is a special act of grace, to accommodate ourselves to every condition of life, and carry an equal temper of mind through all the varieties of our state. (1.) To accommodate ourselves to an afflicted condition – to know how to be abased, how to be hungry, how to suffer want, so as not to be overcome by the temptations of it, either to lose our comfort in God or distrust his providence, or to take any indirect course for our own supply. (2.) To a prosperous condition – to know how to abound, how to be full, so as not to be proud, or secure, or luxurious. And this is as hard a lesson as the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are not less than those of affliction and want. But how must we learn it? I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. We have need of strength from Christ, to enable us to perform not only those duties which are purely Christian, but even those which are the fruit of moral virtue. We need his strength to teach us to be content in every condition.” Matthew Henry
Is contentment our Mt. Everest, the highest peak of human attainment? One who reaching the top of Everest is said to have summited the mountain. Have we summited this mountain of contentment like the apostle? Let’s make a little play on words; submit to summit; it takes submitting control to summit contentment. Rebellion or stubbornness will meet with defeat in this great climb. Isaiah 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. More often than not, mankind rebels against conditions he faces. The man submissive to Christ can summit all things. Will we learn from Christ, our only strength and grace?