The Proper Attitude when attending Summer Camp

 

God established for the Israelites many feast days, ordaining that they be kept from generation to generation. The purpose is mainly to have the Israelites remember the graces of the Lord Himself, and to strengthen the relationship between God and Man. God has bestowed bountiful blessings upon Man. He is a most gracious benefactor. But He wishes that those belonging to Him can truly enjoy these blessings, trust in Him contentedly, and respond to His love in kind. Unfortunately, Man will very often overlook God and put his sight upon material things and his thoughts upon the profits of this life. Therefore God had to set up ordinances on different dates to remind us. The annual summer camp of the church is not required by God for us to attend, but it is a wonderful date with God, and a time when we can reorganize our relationship with Him, experience His blessings and memorialize His works.

 

May all members build up a proper attitude towards the summer camp as follows:

 

1.       “Not attending by routine, but eagerly hoping to gain the benefit.”

The soul must be adequately prepared, so that the spirit will profit from the gathering. If we don’t put much weight on the camp, nothing will be gained from it.  We should first have the determination of Jacob: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” How steadfast a faith! How ardent a petition! May we all have such a prayer as well: “If the Lord doesn’t bless us, we will not leave the venue.”

 

2.       “Not recuperating or resting, but facing a more solemn struggle.”

Superficially, attending summer camp seems a peaceful endeavor. It is great to be able to halt the daily grind, throw off worldly concerns and have a moment of peace and rest. Yet, the revival of the spirit, confrontation of life, examination of service, reassessment of living values, and equipping for the spiritual struggle are not achieved through a bit of rest or temporary isolation from the world. Every time Christ retreated from the crowd into the desert for a temporary halt from His busy work, it was in fact to carry out important duties and make preparations for confronting the ever more grave, ever more difficult conflict, rather than for apparent rest. In summer camp, we do not just want to see people quietly meditating and studying. We want to feel the brothers and sisters struggling and contending in spirit, and the clash of the Holy Spirit and the flesh.

 

3.       “Not only receiving more of the Lord, but having the Lord receive more of us.”

The highest state of a spiritual life, the greatest value, is for the Lord to completely take over us. Offering all of ourselves to the Lord is the most basic response of a Christian to God, and is also our duty to fulfill and our right to enjoy. Certainly we can reckon what may be learnt or achieved in camp. Yet there is a more noble aspiration. What is the will of God on my person? What sins do the Lord want me to eradicate? What are the things God wants me to abandon? And what facets do the Lord want to achieve from my person?

 

4.       “Not just having a peaceful retreat and a calm love for the Lord, but wishing for fervent emotions and even passionate love to be stoked.”

Nowadays, Christians are too calm and rational, often regarding the behavior when touched by God’s love to be just a temporary outburst, a frivolous emotional response. David was the sovereign of a nation. Yet when he welcomed back the Ark of the Covenant, he vigorously danced, sang, and made offerings. He did not worry that such conduct would be despised or criticized as unmannered. Even his wife looked down on his behavior. But his heart was animated and totally committed towards God. Sometimes, we should not suppress our feelings for the Lord, but let His love freely stimulate our heart so that we can cry and open up before Him, or jump for joy, sing and cheer without restraint.

 

Brothers and sisters, are you mentally prepared? Let us take up the duty of bonded and fervent praying. The Lord will surely grant our supplication. When we are prostrate before Him, may the Lord show His mighty hand and revive His work and His church.

 

By: Esther Hung