Back in the day as “freestyle” skiers, my friends and I would occasionally go wilderness skiing. Typically this would consist of 5-6 hours of climbing up steep mountain terrain just to get the thrill of a 15-20 minute ride down. We did this to score untouched “virgin powder” on terrain never skied before. As I remember a few times, the trek almost killed us. The lack of oxygen at these higher altitudes would have your muscles screaming for mercy every step of the way and climbing in plastic ski boots was not the smartest thing; let’s just say they put your feet into a coma.

By the time we would reach the top of the mountain we would all be exhausted. It seemed every muscle would be aching. We’d be breathing with our mouths wide open, and would then virtually collapse as we’d take a seat looking down at the reward; untouched, perfect, waste deep powder.

It seemed within minutes one of us would jump up to put their skies on in order to be the first to drop in. The others quickly pursued. At this point the adrenalin would begin to kick in and with one mighty “ya-whooooo” heard in the town far below, we’d be off. At the end of the run we’d look back, not at the price we paid getting to the top, but at the reward we had getting to the bottom. Stiff and sore I still remember how it hurt so good.

The Apostle Paul suffered greatly (1 Cor.11: 23-29) as he climbed to the top of his ministry. At the end of his journey, tradition has it that he ran to the chopping block and laid his head down for the executioner’s axe. I can’t help thinking before he took off running he may have yelled ya-whoooooo!

                     “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” Phil. 1:21