When Jesus brought Peter and John to the mountain of Transfiguration, Peter had the great idea of setting up tents. “Let’s stay here a while!” he says. But the voice of God swoops in and beckons Peter to listen and learn.
The mountaintop is valuable for resetting our perspective to what is true and important. For learning. It is not where we are meant to spend our days.
When climbers summit Mount Everest, they are in what is called “The Death Zone”. There is not much time to enjoy the view. If you don’t start the descent soon, you will die. As beautiful as the view may be, the air up there is just too thin to survive.
A trap of mountaintop experiences is trying to replace the mundane of the plains and the sorrow of the valley with the ecstasy of the extraordinary. This is not a sustainable approach.
Our mountaintops are made for joy. They are made to inspire. Mountaintop experiences prepare us for life on the plains. Shortly after being told “Be quiet and listen”, the disciples followed Jesus back down. Rather than building huts on the summit, they rejoined the other disciples and went to work, healing a mute boy.
Peter never forgot the experience. He came down the mountain and then did what we ought to do. He took the inspiration and used it to fuel a substantial and meaningful life.