Climbing The Hills Psalm 121:1

I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains.—Psa_121:1.

Some of you have been spending your holidays among the hills, and if you have been among the hills there is one thing, I know, that you wanted to do—you wanted to climb them. That is a little way hills have. They keep calling and calling to you, “Come and climb us; come and see the wonderful things we can show you from our summits.” And they keep on calling till you can’t resist them: you just have to go.

And so if you wanted to climb the hills I know it was not long before you secured a stout staff and set off with a company of friends to scale a neighboring peak. What fun it was! Sometimes you lost the path and had difficulty in finding it again. Sometimes you got ahead of your companions and called to them from your superior position, telling them of all the wonderful things you could see from above. It was tiring, of course, but you did not mind the fatigue because you were so keen on getting to the top—the very top. Often you fancied you were approaching the summit, but when you reached that spot you found there was another peak beyond you, and another, and yet another.

At last you reached the very highest point. Was it worth all the trouble? Why, of course it was! You looked down on the fields and villages far, far below, and you felt as if you were monarch of all you surveyed. No sound reached you but the faint bleat of a mountain sheep or the bark of a dog, the gurgle of a tiny spring or the soft swish of the wind among the heather. And the best of it all was that you had reached that glorious height by your own effort.

Now, boys and girls, as you go through life, I want you to do a little hill-climbing. I want you to lift your eyes to the hills and answer their call. Don’t be content with the low levels. Don’t be afraid of the hills. You will meet many of them—hills of difficulty, hills of hard work. You may avoid them by walking round them, but if you shirk them you will never reach the heights or get the glorious view from the summit.

About a hundred years ago a little colored boy was born in America. He was a slave, and as his father and mother died when he was only six years old, he was left with nobody to care for him. He slept on the dirty floor of a hovel, and in the winter-time he used to creep into an empty meal-sack and leave his feet among the ashes to keep them warm. When he was hungry he would roast an ear of corn and eat it. For clothing he wore a coarse shirt.

Of course nobody ever thought of sending a little slave boy to school, but Frederick managed to pick up some education nevertheless. He taught himself to spell from an old spelling-book, and what do you think his reading-books were? Just the posters stuck upon barn and cellar doors. From them he learned both to read and to write. Sometimes boys and men would help him and later Frederick would address speeches to them. He spoke so well that people began to talk about him. Little by little he struggled up until he became a famous orator and the editor of a newspaper. He took up the cause of the slaves, and before he died he held positions of trust and importance under the United States Government.

Once Frederick Douglass (for that was the slave boy's name) was addressing a school of black boys, and he told them just this story of his life. And he ended by saying that what was possible for him was possible for them if they would strive earnestly to add to their knowledge.

But the hills of knowledge or the hills of difficulty are not the only hills we have to climb. There are also hills of goodness. Don’t be content to remain on the low levels here especially. That temptation will come to you sooner or later. You will be tempted to think that you are just as good as most of the people round you, and that that is enough. But that is a very poor, shabby way of looking at things. Rather try to be like the small boy who stood up in a Quakers’ meeting and said, “I want to be gooder and gooder, and better and better, till there’s no bad left in me.”

But why should we trouble to climb these hills of goodness? It is because Jesus died to make the best of us, and when we are offering Him anything less than the very best in ourselves we are doing a very mean thing indeed.