You would think that a vocational Children’s Pastor would do all he could to promote Kids Camp, not take away from it. That, however, is not my intention in this post. My goal is to speak the truth.
Having said that, I must first admit that Kids and Student Camps have great value. The mountain top experience kids take way is priceless, not to mention their new and strengthened relationships. However, the real priceless time in a kid’s journey with Christ comes through every day life-day in day out! We as parents and leaders of Kids can capitalize on these everyday life moments by daily investing in the lives of our kids or our students from a biblical worldview. We can also see significant movement of our kids along their spiritual growth journey by allowing other faithful Christ followers to invest in their lives. Yet, I believe the best way we can see our kids lives impacted is by partnering with Godly mentors in their lives for their spiritual formation. People like Children’s Pastors, Student Pastors, Coaches, teachers, volunteers in their church (like Sunday School teachers), etc. By utilizing this strong partnership, especially joined with the work of the Holy Spirit in our kids lives, they will be well equipped to tackle real world issues, that they typically escape from on the mountain top experience at summer camp.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 states: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (NIV)
The power in the three-fold partnership between parents, Godly mentors, and the work of the Holy Spirit in a kids life provides the three cords that that cannot be easily broken.
Kids and Student Camps are fantastic and are a great part of building a lifetime of memories in kids lives and in their spiritual formation. However, it’s in those intentional relationships, day in and day out, in mundane life, where real transformation abounds.
“Live by the day – aye, by the hour. Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone….Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Psalm 63:8 exhorts us with the following words: “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
We too often, by human nature, place our feelings of self-worth and value in others and the accolades of our peers and friends, etc. I know for me, when those whom I lead and work with speak highly of me and my gifts and abilities, I quickly begin to believe things about me that aren’t true. My head begins to swell and I think far more of myself than I should. Take a moment to digest this – Whenever we seek to find our significance in anything other than God himself, we will surely fail. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:16-18: “I am better educated than any of the kings before me in Jerusalem. I have greater wisdom and knowledge. So I worked hard to be wise instead of foolish-but now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the more wisdom, the more my grief; to increase knowledge only increases distress” (TLB). King Solomon also stated in Ecclesiastes 4:4: “I observed that the basic motive for success is the driving force of envy and jealousy.” (TLB)
The point I’m trying to make is if we commit our lives to seeking the approval others, the accolades of men, and the self-intoxicating praise for our work, we will surely find ourselves at the end of a frayed rope, starring at a vast chasm below. However, when we seek the approval of, and find our significance in God-when we live our life in order to be a sweet fragrance to Christ, we are upheld and lifted high. If we live our life in this manner, we are as Jeremiah wrote “like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
Do you remember Atlas in Greek Mythology. He was a Titan who lost a war with the Olympians. In true ancient Greek Mythology his punishment for losing the war was to stand at the western edge of the earth and hold up the sky on his shoulders. In the ancient myth of Atlas, “he later became the embodiment of the celestial axis around which the heavens revolve.” All of this was done, in order to prevent him from resuming his power and rule.
Today’s common interpretation of the Myth of Atlas depicts his punishment as him being forced to take on the gigantic task of holding the Earth on his shoulders.
Having noted that, we too often find ourselves in the role of Christian Atlases, taking upon the world, and seemingly all of its problems, on our own shoulders. Many of us take on this unthinkable task, in order that we might somehow earn God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness. We self-inflict this punishment on ourselves because of our sins, and an unbiblical notion that this action might restore our relationship with God.
Well, here’s some good news for all of us: God’s love for us is based on NOTHING of us! Yes that’s right, NOTHING. Here’s the greatest part of that Precept. Since His love for us is based on nothing, WE ARE SECURE! If God’s love for us was based on us, or anything we do or could do, it would surely fail and prove insufficient. However, that just isn’t the truth. His love for us is based on GRACE alone and there’s nothing we can do to earn it! Christians who grasp a full understanding of this Biblical Truth find FREEDOM in their relationship with Christ, NOT PUNISHMENT. Believers who fully grasp this understanding of God’s Love dance on the earth, not try to bear its burden.
My challenge to you is to fully embrace the biblical fact that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 5:38-39
*Parts of this post were taken from Brennan Manning’s Reflections for Ragamuffins