DayBreaks for 6/2/16 – Where Was the Samaritan?

DayBreaks for 6/02/16 – Where Was the Samaritan?

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

By STEVE McMORRAN, Associated Press Writer Wed May 24, 3:29 PM ET, WELLINGTON, New Zealand –

Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary said Wednesday he was shocked that dozens of climbers left a British mountaineer to die during their own attempts on the world’s tallest peak. David Sharp, 34, died apparently of oxygen deficiency while descending from the summit during a solo climb last week.  More than 40 climbers are thought to have seen him as he lay dying, and almost all continued to the summit without offering assistance.  “Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain,” Hillary was quoted as saying in an interview with New Zealand Press Association.

New Zealander Mark Inglis, who became the first double amputee to reach the mountain’s summit on prosthetic legs, told Television New Zealand that his party stopped during its May 15 summit push and found Sharp close to death.  A member of the party tried to give Sharp oxygen, and sent out a radio distress call before continuing to the summit, he said.  Several parties reported seeing Sharp in varying states of health and working on his oxygen equipment on the day of his death.

Inglis, who was due to arrive back in New Zealand on Thursday, said Sharp had no oxygen when he was found. He said there was virtually no hope that Sharp could have been carried to safety from his position about 1,000 feet short of the 29,035-foot summit, inside the low-oxygen “death zone” of the mountain straddling the Nepal-China border.  His own party was able to render only limited assistance and had to put the safety of its own members first, Inglis said Wednesday.  “I walked past David but only because there were far more experienced and effective people than myself to help him,” Inglis said. “It was a phenomenally extreme environment; it was an incredibly cold day.”

The temperature was minus 100 at 7 a.m. on the summit, he said.

Hillary told the Otago Daily Times, “There have been a number of occasions when people have been neglected and left to die and I don’t regard this as a correct philosophy.”  “I think the whole attitude toward climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top,” he told the newspaper.

Hillary told New Zealand Press Association he would have abandoned his own pioneering climb to save another’s life.  “It was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say ‘good morning’ and pass on by,” he said.  He said that his expedition, “would never for a moment have left one of the members or a group of members just lie there and die while they plugged on towards the summit.”

Galen’s Thoughts: As I read this account, I couldn’t help but think of the story of the Good Samaritan.  And it made me wonder, what has happened to our world, that reaching the summit of a mountain is more important than trying to save a human life?  There is no doubt that as the snow and ice blew and swirled in Everest’s death zone, the conditions were beyond anything that nearly all of us will ever experience.  But does that mean it’s OK to pass by someone who is on the verge of dying on your way to the top of the mountain?  And how convenient the excuse “…there were far more experienced and effective people than myself to help him…” 

Somehow, I think Jesus would have stopped, don’t you?  The question is: what would I have done?  What would you have done?  The painful truth is that there are people we pass EVERY DAY who face a far worse fate than freezing to death on the slopes of Mount Everest.  Do I pass them by “…because there were far more experienced and effective people than myself to help him..”?  Why should we assume that someone more experienced will come along?  Might it not be that Jesus put that person on the same pathway that we are on so that we would see them and stop? 

Who will you see today who is dying without the Lord?

PRAYER:  Father, forgive us for the excuses we make for not speaking to those who are dying without Jesus.  Give us the wisdom to recognize those who are in desperate need of the gospel.  Give us the alertness and clear mindedness to stop in our headlong rush to get where we’re going to spend time with those who are facing death.  And give us the courage to speak words of Life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.



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