AN AMAZING FACT: From the time baby boys first pull themselves up to walk, men seem to have a yearning to climb—trees, mountains, even tall buildings. Most of us learn a natural fear of dangerous heights, but some never develop that fear. Take, for example, George Polley, the first “human fly” in North America. He began his climbing career as a boy when, in 1910, an owner of a clothing store promised him a free suit if he would climb to the roof of the building. He succeeded.
In 1920, he climbed the Woolworth Building but was arrested for climbing without official permission. Nevertheless, George was soon in demand for his climbing skills. He was often invited to climb a building as part of the opening ceremonies of some new business. Sometimes he spiced up his performance by pretending to slip and drop from one windowsill to another. Over his short career, Polley climbed the walls of over 2,000 tall buildings. Tragically, George Polley died at the age of 29, not from a fall but due to a brain tumor.
Another remarkable building climber was George Willig, who on May 26, 1977, climbed the south tower of the World Trade Center without ropes or net. The mayor of New York City fined him $1.10, one penny for each of the 110 floors. Then there is the French Spiderman, Alain Robert, who climbs for publicity. He has scaled the Eiffel Tower, Sears Tower, and over 30 other skyscrapers, including New York’s Empire State Building.
It makes one wonder if this urge to build and scale higher is one reason early man built the Tower of Babel. But there was an additional reason. The builders of the Tower of Babel turned away from their Maker. Proud and ambitious, they forgot to be humble before God. When they exalted themselves, God brought them down.
In contrast, Jesus, though He ruled the universe, “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant,” and laying down His life. Because of that, “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:7, 9, 10). God rewards a humble heart.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15