The Mountain Top
John Telgren


There was a Christian song that came out over thirty years ago entitled, "Mountain Top."

"I love to sing and I love to pray, I worship the Lord most every day. I go to the temple and I just want to stay to hide from the hustle of the world and its ways.

I'd love to live on a mountaintop, and be fellowshipping with the Lord.
I'd love to stand on a mountaintop, 'Cause I love to feel my spirit soar.

But I must come down from the mountaintop to the people in the valley below; or they'll never know that they can go to the mountain of the Lord.

Mountain top experiences can be powerful times of renewal. There are times we need to go to the mountain top. For some it may be a retreat. For others it may be camp, a workshop, a singing, or simply a special trip to a literal mountaintop.

I had a friend that craved the mountaintop. When the feeling of the mountaintop wore off, so did his devotion and commitment. Needless to say, he showed up only sporadically to the Sunday assembly. He didn't feel the urge to go, so he didn't. He didn't want to go if his heart wasn't in it. So he would get weaker and weaker that way until the next mountain top experience, which was the annual Men's Retreat in the woods.

As I reflect on those mountaintop experiences in scripture, I am reminded they are not all the same. For some, it was a time of strengthening, encouragement, and renewal, such as Elijah's time in the mountain (1 Kng 19). For others, it was terrifying, uncomfortable, but nevertheless a time of renewal, as in the time Jacob wrestled with God by the Jabbok river (Gen 32). But God never leaves them there. When people are renewed, encouraged, and strengthened, it is always to serve or minister in some way.

God does not stay on the mountaintop. God is not found in a burning bush or on Mount Sinai today. The voice of God along with Moses and Elijah are no longer found on the mount of transfiguration. So anyone who just sits on the mountaintop waiting for another experience rather than going out to serve will get weaker and weaker as my friend did. It would not be unlike spending your whole life at the dinner table waiting to be fed, but never leaving it or doing anything else. Nothing could be unhealthier.

So, while retreats, camps, and other such things can be great times of renewal, they are only a part of the whole picture. Like Moses, we come down off the mountain and go out to serve. We don't do so alone. The Lord promised to be with us to the end of the age (Mt 28:20). We are a temple of the Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). God is with us every bit as much in the valley as he is on the mountain top.