It’s that time of year for the church world: time for camps and VBS’s across the land. Being a youth minister, Greg’s schedule is packed with week-long events such as Workcamp, Impact, and mission trips. In fact, he’s at Workcamp this week. In the meantime, the kids and I are attending Camp Canaan, a day camp that my parents’ church has run for over twenty years now. I have many fond memories of attending Camp Canaan as a camper, volunteering as a counselor, and writing curriculum for it as a college student. And now, in one of those “I feel old” moments, both my children are attending for the first time. While they are campers, I have been helping my mom in her legendary (yes, it is, mom) craft cabin. It’s been so neat to see the amazing group of women that she has assembled over the years to help her with all the wonderful crafts she teaches the children. It’s very important to her that all of her workers come in with a spiritual focus, so one of the jobs she has given me is to lead a little devo each morning before we all pray together.
For our devo on Tuesday, I had one of my cheesier moments where I re-wrote 1 Corinthians 13 to fit our tasks in the craft cabin. I wrote it more as a reminder for myself than for the dedicated ladies there; it is always a struggle for me when planning and executing events to remember that the number 1 priority is to show God’s love to the children. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the jobs themselves and in making sure that all goes smoothly that I miss the main reason I’m there in the first place. See, it doesn’t matter how smoothly I execute my role if I’m not reflecting the love of God to the kids. That’s the whole point of camp and VBS! And as much as we might like to think that kids learn about the love of God from hearing a story or memorizing a verse, I believe wholeheartedly that we truly know God’s love when we experience it from others. And that’s why I needed to look at 1 Corinthians 13, from the viewpoint of my role in my mom’s craft cabin:
If I give out the same set of instructions 37 times, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of painting* and can help children paint anything they want, and if I have the perseverance to wash out every single brush afterward, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I make sure that the kids get all the crafts done and even organize the shelves afterward, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude to the campers, it is not self-seeking, it keeps no record of obnoxiousness or disrespect. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects the campers, always trusts in God, always hopes for the best, always perseveres. Love never fails.
But where there are painted crafts, they will fade. Where there are “God’s eyes,” they will be lost. Where there are bird feeders, they will probably not last the winter…But what remains when those things are gone is faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
Camp and VBS present great opportunities to get to know kids and pour God’s love into them. My challenge is to remember that showing love is more important than all my other camp jobs.
What would your 1 Corinthians 13 look like?
*I don’t have the gift of painting. That was a hypothetical. As I have no crafty gifts, there wasn’t anything to put in that blank. I can wash out paint brushes, though!