Everybody Can’t Climb This Mountain:
Overcoming Personal Challenges One Mountain at a Time
Dr. Rayford E. Malone (St. Paul Press)
Everybody Can’t Climb This Mountain is a motivational book written in a conversational style. The primary audience is leaders questioning God’s ability to use them.
The metaphor of climbing mountains illustrates how following Christ requires work, obedience, determination, persistence and the willingness to do hard things. Not only does Malone have outward mountains in view—the difficulties of ministry in the world. He also has internal mountains in his sights, calling leaders not to self-sabotage.
Malone opens with a gripping personal story of childhood adversity and shares several more personal stories throughout the book, demonstrating his experience with doubt and inner turmoil.
He bookends Everbody Can’t Climb This Mountain with a look at Moses’ first and last mountains—Sinai and Nebo. On Sinai, God introduced himself to Moses, initiating the journey to the Promised Land. Along the way, Moses disobeyed God, and it cost Moses. He could not enter the Promised Land. Instead, he was allowed to see it from Nebo, the last mountain he climbed. In climbing such a mountain, the leader must be willing to accept responsibility and the consequences of leadership, as well as the need to die to self.
Subjects of Malone’s study include Moses when he met God in the burning bush, the great leader Caleb who led the Israelites into the Promised Land, Paul and Isaiah.
Malone also has much to say about the frustrations of ministry, addressing both leaders and their congregations as responsible for being faithful to Christ and to Christ’s ministry. Both can forget that those who travel with them are not really committed to Christ but to “the best thing going.” Such uncommitted travelers sap forward movement and sabotage the upward climb.
Although the book can be read quickly, the reader should be sure not to miss such pearls as “you have to have some bark on your tree,” “a dog that will bring a bone will take a bone,” and “I would rather have manna from God than meat from the devil.”
Everybody Can’t Climb This Mountain is best read as a series of motivational stories. The reader should search for nuggets within Malone’s personal stories and reflections on specific points of Scripture.
Everybody Can’t Climb This Mountain is suitable for group study or for use in a mentor/mentee relationship. Each of the six chapters includes a short study guide at the end.
Eric Black, executive director/editor/publisher