“But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.”
One of the most majestic sights in the United States is the great peaks of the Rocky Mountains. If you travel across the west, the tall mountains rise up and up. Many of them are covered with snow all year long because of their elevation. Yet as beautiful as they are, it is because of that elevation and the resulting cold air and lack of soil or moisture that almost nothing grows on the tops of the mountains. There is what is called a “tree line” and once you get above that point, there is little plant or animal life. The mountains are lovely to look at and experience, but they are not a place to stay.
Peter was amazed by what he saw on the Mount of Transfiguration and wanted to just stay there. He was all for building structures and leaving the rest of the world behind. But God does not call us to withdraw from the world and isolate ourselves into tiny spiritual communities. He calls us to go meet with people where they are and reach out to them with the gospel. Peter’s desire is understandable, but as the text from Luke tells us, it was based on a lack of understanding of God’s plan. There are times to rest and recharge our spiritual batteries. There are times to spend seasons alone with God. But most of our lives are to be lived among the people around us, loving and ministering to them as Jesus did.
Although mountaintop experiences are a blessing, most of the work of the Christian life is done in the valleys.