Humans are attracted to extremes. Whether it’s the deepest, fastest, scariest, or tallest, our species is constantly trying to push the envelope, even when it’s extremely dangerous to do so.
- What does the phrase “biting off more than you can chew” mean? (Allow your students to discuss this phrase as a class, eventually landing on something resembling taking on more than you can handle.)
- Have you ever “bitten off more than you can chew?”
Nowhere is this phrase illustrated more intensely than on the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain in 1953, thousands have attempted to reach the dangerous summit with often disastrous consequences.
The phrase “biting off more than you can chew” is well known in the area surrounding Everest. In the last 65 years, over 250 people have lost their lives on the mountain. Many of these climbers died because of a lack of preparation and overconfidence in their abilities. Their meager skills proved to be insufficient in combating the subzero temperatures, lack of oxygen, and fickle weather. Just last year, three people died in a single incident from altitude sickness.
Sherpas, the guides who help climbers summit Everest, have made climbing this mountain accessible to more people. Even with such an aggressive 21st century fatality rate of 7 persons per year, it is widely accepted that this number would be far greater if not for the native Nepalese mountaineering guides known as “Sherpas.”
- What parallels can you draw between the Sherpa rescues and our faith? (Give your students a chance to work through this question together, using their responses to lead into Step 2 of this lesson.)
Show the following video to your students [1:17]:
Sherpa breaks his own record with 24th Mount Everest summit
In much of life, we take the role of the inexperienced climber, charging into situations without sufficient preparation, hubris clouding our judgement. Ultimately, we end up lost, gasping for air, searching for anything to help us down the mountain. Accordingly, God and the survival guide He’s given us can be likened to the Sherpas who risk their lives to save those with nowhere else to turn.
Today, we’ll look more closely at God’s survival guide—let’s see what God has given us to keep us out of harm’s way.