I'm sure by this point, you're super excited, really nervous, or both, about going on the Mountain Project this summer! I've got some good news and some bad news for you: This summer is not about you. It's not about how much fun you’re going to have, how much you're going to learn, or how awesome it’s going to be going back to school in the Fall. It's not even about how close to Jesus you're going to feel this summer (Though that's going to be awesome!). It's not just a summer experience that you get a bunch of cool snapchat stories from, or even about how many times you share the Gospel over the summer. This summer on the Mountain Project is about setting you up to follow Jesus faithfully for the rest of your life.
Following Christ is a marathon, not a sprint, and while the fast pace of project can be tiring, it’s really just building that stamina and endurance that you're going to need over the course of your life. Every little thing you do is pushing you in that direction. So why am I telling you this? Because this summer it’s going to be really easy to get caught up in all the fun, or to be exhausted from a long week at Dollywood, and forget why you're on project. There are gonna be some days that you literally just don't want to do anything. And if your goals for the summer are to make lots of new friends, to grow more knowledgeable about the Bible, or even to share your faith better, it’s just not going to be worth pushing through on those days where it would feel much better to lay in bed, watch Netflix, and sleep. Those goals are all good things, but if that's your end goal, you're missing the point.
The point has to be Jesus. It has to be knowing Him more. It has to be glorifying Him with your life. It has to be all about Him. If Jesus is not at the center of it all, it's all gonna fade away eventually. Maybe not over the summer, maybe not even while you're in college, but it will. I don't want that for you. I've seen it. I've seen people fired up about going back to campus to share the Gospel with their friends, and they get back to school and it just doesn't happen. Life gets in the way. It wasn't how they thought it was gonna be, or they find out that it's a lot more fun to hang out with that guy or girl they like than the people they don't know well in their dorms. Maybe they realize that some people didn't like them as much when they talked about sin and the fact that we all need a savior. Whatever the reason, the heart issue behind it is that they took their eyes off Jesus. It happens. Even the apostle Peter started drowning when he took his eyes off Christ in Matthew 14. So this summer, next semester, or whenever you find yourself drowning, look up. Join with Peter and cry out, “Lord, save me!” Remember the Gospel. Remember that Jesus endured the cross for your sake, he despised the shame that should've been mine and is now seated at the right hand of God. That's where our focus must be. That's what will get you through long Dollywood days, late nights in a tiny dorm, and through all the trials of life.
So this summer when you're mad at your roommates, you're exhausted, or you just can't bear to hear the wild eagle song one more time, just know that it's worth it. It’s worth it to come back to campus and see one of your friends give their life to Christ. It will be worth it to be 80 and look back and see all that God has done in your life. And it will be worth it on the day we stand before the throne of God and see Jesus face to face.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Adam Deatherage is from Knoxville, Tennessee, and is a senior at Tennessee Tech. He plans to graduate this December with a degree in Manufacturing and Engineering Technology. He has spent two Summers on Mountain Project, and will be traveling to New Zealand this summer with a team of students to share the Gospel there. Adam enjoys spending time with his friends, being outside, and hitting golf balls into lakes, forests, and pretty much anywhere besides the hole.