Finally CAMP 2017 has arrived and lots of you will have already been on Camp this year – I hope you all had a good time, and perhaps have been challenged or encouraged by the studies in the Bible. This is the reason why we hold Camp each year, so that all of us might hear something from God, as well as enjoying all that Camp has to offer (treks up the Bump, Ultimate Frisbee on the beach, and of course Camp porridge!).
Many characters in the Bible started their experience of God in a similar way. Think about Samuel in the Old Testament. You can read about his emergence to become a prophet of God in 1 Samuel chapters 1-3. But although he started his “work” with Eli the priest at a very young age, we read in 1 Samuel 3 v 7 that “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” Before he could truly serve God, he had to come to know Him personally, to be able to recognise the Lord’s voice and follow Him.
God called Samuel three times but he assumed it was Eli speaking! Eventually Eli explained to Samuel that it was the Lord – how to recognise and respond to His voice. This was a significant milestone in Samuel’s story. Similarly, God calls all of us to respond to the message of the gospel (that Jesus died for our sins so that we might have eternal life), and part of the work of Camp is to explain that “call” so that we can each respond individually. How many times have you heard God’s call?
Most likely when you read this, Camp will be a recent memory. What have you heard this year? No doubt you’ll have read the Bible on Camp, but have you heard God calling you? Samuel’s reply to God’s call was “speak, for your servant hears.” So far, he had been Eli’s servant, but now he is prepared to report to God direct.
Samuel was still a young man at this stage, but his youth did not mean he could not serve God or that God could not speak to him. But notice ch 3 v 19 “and Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him” – there was progress in his life with God, and more than that v20 “and all Israel… knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.” Samuel’s progress was evident to God, but there was also no doubt from the people either.
Just like a walk from Camp up the Bump, we shouldn’t be content with staying on the Camp site but to achieve higher ground – making progress in knowing God, the higher we go, the better the view! Just like a couple walking on the beach, we should come to recognise the Lord walking with us – and realising that one set of footprints from time to time means not that He had left us, but that He carried us. And just like the lifeguard hut at West Runton needs a solid foundation rather than the collapsing sandy cliffs, so we can establish our lives upon Christ’s teaching.
Here’s the point:- what will you do with what you’ve heard at Camp 2017? Will you respond to God’s “call” and put your faith in Jesus Christ and become a Christian? Perhaps you’ve already done this – in which case what progress have you made? Are you “growing” as a Christian, and can others see this progress? God had much work to do through Samuel, and He has lots to do through you as well.
Jon (Young Christians’ Camp Leader)