The Sherpas of eastern Nepal have been helping those scaling Mount Everest for more than six decades. Reaching the world’s highest peak is a near impossible goal. Most climbers find a Sherpa’s aid to be necessary.
Born and raised high in the Himalayas, a Sherpa’s mind has been strengthened by the rugged mountain conditions, and their body has adjusted to operate in the thin air at the highest elevations. Sherpas know the passable routes upward, the intense and ever-changing weather, and ways to survive the ravages of the region. They’ve been to the top; they know the way and what to expect. A Sherpa guides climbers upward, carries some of the load, coaches through the unexpected, and helps push on when conditions are most daunting. As the climbers approach the peak, the Sherpa often stops short and points toward the top as if to say, “You go ahead, this is your mountain to conquer. I’ll stay here with the gear and link up to celebrate with you as you come back down.”
Titus tells of “Sherpian” roles within the body of Christ (Titus 2:1-8). Paul guided young Timothy through and beyond the second missionary journey then charged him to take up a similar “Sherpian” role within his work at Ephesus (2 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul also tells the Thessalonians to “encourage one another and build up one another up … to admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14).
We all could use a Sherpa when facing new and formidable challenges. Junior leaders and young couples with their abundance of zeal and energy, but with limited experience, particularly benefit from a seasoned guide as they break new ground in life.
Will they seek out another–and will they find someone—offering to guide through personal or professional challenges, encourage when the journey wears on the soul, point upward to the goal, and celebrate in their victories?