"When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught His climbing companions." (Matthew 5:1,2, The Message)
Crowds always collect around events and individuals that are curious or exciting. Jesus was all that and more, and so naturally His ministry drew large crowds. But He knew that crowds are fickle. So when He saw His ministry attracting large crowds — He climbed a hillside. This was a decisive movement upward; an intentional maneuver sure to root out those who were only looking for the easy way, the free ride. And as the Lord expected, the crowd dispersed. You see, crowds don’t climb hillsides.
What happened next is what the Lord was after all along. Those who were apprenticed to Him — the committed — climbed with Him. Are you committed? When the crowds fade away, and following Jesus is no longer the popular thing to do, or the easy thing to do — will you be one of His climbing companions? If you will, He’ll take you to the summit!
The scripture tells us that we are “partakers of a heavenly calling” (Heb.3:1). Elsewhere it is refered to as “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:14). It is the call of God upon our lives that makes mediocrity unacceptable. The word mediocrity literally means “halfway up a mountain.”
Are you going to settle for only following Christ halfway? I didn’t think so. Rather, don't you want to be known as one of Christ's climbing companions?
The old Hymn says it so well….
I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining every day.
Still praying as I’m upward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay.
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground!
Lord lift me up! And let me stand
By faith on Heaven’s stable land!
A higher place that I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.