Camp Adventures: Get Excited About the Little Things

Well, last week at camp was a light week. Light in the sense that there were not that many campers numbers wise. This was probably due to the fact that it was a holiday week, as the 4th of July was last Wednesday for those that forgot what the date was and what day of the week it is.

So Monday I was really pumped, here it is the second week of day camp, not really feeling tired yet, only for some of the senior staff members to tell me to give it a few more weeks. Wednesday came and I was not really sure what the day was going to look like. The weather was not the most promising looking thing either. Only a handful of campers showed up, as expected since it was after all the Fourth of July.

My fellow counselor and I doubled up on devos, she went first and I followed after her, because you know, always have to do the gentleman thing and let the ladies go first. I shared with the campers about the ultimate freedom that we have in this life. The freedom that we have to carry Bibles wherever we want, have worship services whenever we want, and how God gave his only Son, to die on a cross for our sins and the sins of this entire world so that we have a relationship with God.

Overall, it was a relatively normal day at day camp. Shortly after all the campers left, something struck me, throughout the day I had been struggling to be excited about the various day’s events. I blamed it on the lack of campers that we had that day. Ironically, had there been an overwhelming number of campers, I probably would have made the comment that I can’t wait until they all go home. Then the Lord struck me with something that was convicting and encouraging.

In Matthew 14:15-21, we see the well-known passage and the account of Jesus feeding 5,000 people. That’s the end of the story. I know you usually tell stories from the beginning, but I wanted to change things up here. The beginning of the story, Jesus only had 5 loaves and 2 fish to work with. Yet, the Bible said Christ blessed and gave thanks for what was provided to him. Now, if I had been there I may have laughed to cover up the frustrating feeling that I would have been having. You’re out all day, in the heat probably, getting hungry and 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish are all is what is being offered for dinner. A valiant effort and innocence of the willing young man that brought these things may have made me laugh, but I would have all sorts of things to say. Yet Christ blessed the gift. The hymn says, “little is much when God is in it.” What seemed like little numbers wise, became much and everyone ate, was filled, and there was even plenty of leftovers.

Sometimes as Christians I think we get so caught up in how much, numbers wise, is in the basket, that we forget about the quality of what is in the basket. The Bible didn’t say that the fish were too small, or old, or an uneditable type of fish, just that there was only two of them. It didn’t say that the bread was a small loaf or a gluten-free loaf, or that some liked the bread and others didn’t, just that there were only 5 loaves amongst thousands. I lost track what was in my basket, and just looked at the numbers. Only had 2 campers, yet I could have invested and built a strong lasting foundation of a friendship with these 2 campers instead of wondering what do I do with them today. What I needed to do was to be thankful and bless what was provided and let God provide the increase. In the Christian life, there are going to be things that maybe we plan, or try to plan, or and the attendance numbers can become discouraging. Yet, whether thousands come to church or 5, we can be excited. Where two or three are gathered God is in the midst of them, as we are promised in Scripture. But also, those that attend could be the most faithful, dependable, and the most committed believers that we know and God can and will use them. Whether there are many are or just a few, it isn’t all just about numbers. No matter what the numbers, God can and will continue to do great and mighty things with whomever and however many, as long as we are willing to follow after Him.

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Sow and Let God Grow

Matthew 9:37 – “…The harvest is truly plenteous, but the laborers are few.” 

This verse to me has always been convicting and humbling. We live in a world where there are billions of people (the harvest) and yet finding people to be committed to the ministry of reaching them with the Gospel is as stated, being few laborers.

I think that sometimes, and I myself am guilty of this, we find ourselves doubting or even tired of the work (ministry). We have doubtful questions: well, these people never come to church anyway so, why bother to knock on the door. No one comes to evening services anymore so, why have them? I want to sleep in instead of getting up on Saturday morning and going out and visiting. I have often thought, well what if I say something stupid or dumb to someone while trying to share the Gospel and get rejected or look like an idiot.

But my friends do not doubt, do not be fearful, don’t get frustrated and don’t quit the work. Ask God for divine appointments. In Matthew 13:1-8 we have the parable of the sower. We see different outcomes of what happens to the seeds that are attempted to be sown. The first, “the fowls came and devoured them up.” (v.4). The second, fall onto stony soil and they become scorched because they had no root. (v.6). The third, are fallen onto thorns and then the thorns choke the seeds. (v.7).  But lastly, we see that some made it on good soil and brought forward much fruit. (v.8). 

I think that sometimes in ministry all we see, and if we aren’t careful, all we focus on is the seeds that we try and plant and become choked out, devoured, or even scorched. But friends we can’t get caught up on the seeds that did not grow the way we wanted. All that we are, is simply sowers. We may think that there is no point, we have not seen any fruit from the seeds that we have planted. But evangelism is more than what we can see. Isaiah:8 – “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” What a great comfort!

Farmers don’t just plant seeds and expect growth overnight. In fact, sometimes they plant a crop, some time has passed, they begin to think that that there won’t be any substance. Later, unexpectedly something appears. But if the farmer never plants any seeds then they will never know what can possibly be grown. If we don’t plant seeds- pass out tracts, share our testimonies, invite people to church, visit different people then it’s no wonder that we don’t see any fruit. James Merrit in his devotional book called 52 Weeks With Jesus, stated “Jesus won’t do our job- we are to sow. We can’t do his job- he is to grow. We can do our part but only Christ can reach the heart.”

You see it’s not so much was my delivery of the Gospel flawless, or that someone has to get saved every time that I share the Gospel and if not then the opportunity was a bust. No friends, we have no control over when and how the seeds that we planted are grown. That is up to the work of God. Personally, there were many sowers that planted seeds in my life. There is the possibility that those that shared testimonies and the Gospel with me thought, “you know I don’t think he is ever going to get it” or perhaps “this really has just become useless”. Only to their pleasant surprise one day I accepted Christ as my Savior.

Had seeds never been planted then who knows how I may have come to faith or if I would have come to a belief in Jesus Christ. The fruit came many years later. But don’t give up planting seeds. You never know what growth can come about. But just remember that is all in God’s time, and we can’t do the growing. John 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease.” 

There is a world of people that you reading this can reach that I may never. As II Timothy 1:6 says, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” Let’s get stirred up, be bold, and be confident not in ourselves but in the amazing work of the Holt Spirit and because “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 

“Our tendency is to write off people in our minds: friends we think would never be interested in Christianity; colleagues who seem to sinful, ‘too far gone’; or family members who say conversations about ‘your religion’ are off limits. When I start thinking this way, I need friends to remind me that no heart is too hard for the Holy Spirit.” – J. Mack Stilles.