Faithfulness is enough for Today

As camp leaders, we are in the constant process of improving our capabilities and growing our skills.  We read magazines like this one and scour online articles hunting for more information that might help us to better organize our campsites and manage staff, volunteers, and donors.  We desire to constantly improve ourselves and better serve our ministries.

We are also often obsessively aware of our shortcomings.  We may try to hide them, but they become glaringly obvious time and time again.  Our jobs require so many different skills and capabilities that we just cannot measure up to everything we need to be.  It just is not possible.

So today’s insight is a moment for much-needed refreshment, encouragement, and celebration.

Today we will celebrate how much we have grown, and how much God has been glorified through us, faults and all.  We take our cue from the way Paul celebrated the transformation of the Corinthians as they remained faithful to Christ (1 Cor. 1-2).

1 Corinthians 1:26 extols the Corinthians to “think of what you were when you were called.”

Let’s do the same.

Think back to your very first week in camping ministry.  Then think back to your first month and year.  Remember the mistakes, the frustrations, the confusion.  Remember some of those moments where you truly questioned whether you were meant to be in the field of Christian Camping Ministry.  Odds are, these memories hold a mixture of shame, humiliation, regret, and even a bit of humor.

We can shout in agreement as Paul continues…”Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential…”

Amen!

I remember the first time I ran a programmed retreat.  Yikes!  That poor group.

Or the time I decided helmets could be optional on the zipline.  Not so wise.

Or my first time trying to get the attention of 100+ teenagers.  I’m glad someone else took over.

But as we remember those times, we need to hear the rest of Paul’s message to the Corinthians.  In the next chapter he reminds them that he was exactly the same way; he didn’t know what to do.  He didn’t say the words right, he was nervous and afraid.  But he was faithful to God’s call, and he went for it (with tremendous results, I might add).

The cynical side of me wants to believe that Paul was just trying to get himself out of a bind by saying that he preached poorly on purpose (mostly because I’d like to use that excuse in the future).  I know that isn’t the case, though.  When we look at our own lives, our own experiences as leaders, we can see the truth in Paul’s words.  We had a lot to learn when we first started out, and we still have a huge chunk of knowledge to acquire.  And we know that it is in our weakness that God can truly be glorified.

We see that God has been glorified through the work we have done, and we know this especially because of how horrible that work was when we began.

It is only through God’s intervention that I have ever been able to lead a retreat.

It is only because of the Spirit of God in me that I have ever been able to share spiritual insights with our staff.

It is only through God’s grace that no campers were injured in that midnight run through the middle of the woods we thought would be JUST AWESOME!

It is through God’s power that our ministries affect the changes we seen in children, teens, and adults.

Because we know that we are not wise.

We know that we are not influential.

We know that we don’t have it all together.

And we know that this is okay.

Yes, we should continue to educate ourselves and learn new skills and become better leaders.  That is important.  But isn’t it great to celebrate the words of Paul that tell us simply being faithful is enough for today?  Isn’t it refreshing to be able to celebrate what God has done through and in us?  Isn’t it encouraging to remember what we once were, and to juxtapose that with who we are now?

So be encouraged, and let’s celebrate together knowing that faithfulness IS ENOUGH for today.

 

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