Well, how do I even begin to process what happened the past 13 weeks? They were the shortest 13 weeks of my life, and yet at the same time the longest 91 days I’ve ever experienced. Each day brought different struggles and problems to face and confront. For those of you who are wondering what I would do for 13 weeks out of the summer, (that’s basically the whole summer…) I spent them working as a second year staffer at a Christian summer camp in south Texas called Pine Cove. Those familiar with my story would recognize Pine Cove as one of the reasons I created this blog in the first place.
I guess one of the big questions people get asked after spending time away from normal life falls along the lines of something like this: “What was the biggest lesson you took away from _______(Fill in the blank with random experience, e.g. camp, study abroad, internship)?”
Well, since you asked, I’ll go ahead and try my best to answer; of course, answering a question like that is no easy matter. Lessons learned through experience are difficult to distill into small bite-like nuggets, and even harder to convey to those who simply haven’t gone through similar experiences. The best way, I think, to go about relating all that happened would be to put down the Words of God that most impacted me this summer. And so, without further delay…
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– Mark 10:43-45
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
“ Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!” – Philippians 2:5-11
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
– Colossians 3:23
“He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30
I imagine if you took all those verses and threw them into a giant mixing pot, out would come the lesson I learned this summer. In essence, I learned a good deal of servant leadership, and what it looks like for TK (that was my camp nickname) to lay down his life so that others may begin to know Christ. I learned (some days were much easier than others) to not consider my wants, my “needs”, and my life as more important than someone else’s.
Do I still struggle with sin and selfishness and pride? Yea I do. A lot. But God has been gracious in teaching me these things and in showing me more of who He is so that he may be glorified. After all, it’s not about me. This summer at camp wasn’t ultimately about what I could learn or grow in, but rather it was about Christ being glorified, in whatever manner that turned out to be.
There were tons of other little lessons along the way such as dealing with feelings of inadequacy, learning that in our rebellion, God never lets go, as well as the nature and importance of our relationship with Jesus. But I would definitively say that the overriding theme of my summer was “servant-leadership.” So yea. I guess it turns out you can distill summer-long lessons into two words.
I realize that all of these insights are fairly surface level, so if you really want to hear all the good stories, let’s grab coffee sometime. It’ll be on me.
Also, just a quick shout-out to any Pine Cove 2015 Staffer reading this: I freakin’ miss you guys. Seriously. I’m not one for much sentimentality, but I really do miss you guys. Know that I’m praying for you guys as you return to school to create the community we had at the Outback (g’day).