After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) (Mark 9:2-6, NIV)
Every time I read this passage I think, “What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall for that event.” Imagine it. Jesus begins to shine, and suddenly Elijah and Moses are there, chatting with Him. I bet the experience was incredible.
But what intrigues me about the passage is Peter’s response. He immediately talks about how good it is to be there, which is pretty obvious. But then he talks about staying. He mentions building shelters for Jesus and his Old Testament buddies. Peter tries desperately to hold onto the moment. And I don’t blame him. I would too.
I’ve had several encounters with God where I’ve wanted to hang onto that feeling. I wanted to cling to the mountaintop experience, even wondering if I could stay there; getting ready to head home from a missions trip and not wanting to leave. I want to build a shelter and stay there in that mountaintop experience, just like Peter.
But it doesn’t work that way. We go home, go back to our normal lives. We come down from the mountain, and move on. The challenge is to be changed in a way that when we return to normal life we aren’t the same. We act differently, we think differently, we spend our time differently.
The goal of those experiences with God is to change us not so we want to live in that moment, but so that experience fuels our passion for others. Imagine what would have happened if Peter would have built those shelters. What would have happened had he decided to live there on that mountain for the rest of his life? Who would have preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36)?
When God gives you a powerful experience, allow that experience to fuel your ministry, your love for others.
Dear God, remind me to take my mountaintop experiences to the people in the valley. Give me a passion to make your name famous in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
-Seth Caddell is the guest devotion writer for this week. He is the Associate Minister of Adult Ministries at Northside, and blogs over at www.LifeAsExperienced.com