by Pastor Polk
You Just Never Know
I have so many fun and fond memories of my time at Camp Calumet where I served as a camp counselor for three summers when I was 18, 19 and 20 years old. Calumet is our Lutheran Church camp in New Hampshire at the foot of the White Mountains. In addition to my work as a counselor I taught swimming and boating. I knew a lot about swimming but nothing about boating – so I had to learn quickly! For all three summers I was assigned to Boys Cabin #5 where for 10 weeks I got a new batch of 10 year- old boys – that’s about 100 boys each summer for a total of 300. So many bonding times: camp fires; silly skits; arts and crafts; snack time; make-the-beds and clean-up time; trips to nurse Gretchen; the occasional call to mom or dad for the home-sick boy. My favorite time of day was bed-time for the boys when we would talk about the day. I’d read scripture and end the day with prayer. Almost every night I read Ephesians 4:1-4. Since it’s not written for 10 year-old’s I would paraphrase it like this:
Lead a life worthy of the life to which you are called –
with humility and gentleness. Be patient with
one another and always care for one another in love.
I would attempt to talk briefly with the boys about what it means to figure out what kind of life God has in store for them as they grow up – and no matter what it is - to live a life that is marked by humility and gentleness, patience and love. And then “LIGHTS OUT!” And then we’d see how long that would last and how many more declarations of ‘LIGHTS OUT!” were needed!
A couple of years ago I received an email from someone who was serving a church in New Zealand as a Lutheran pastor. Somehow, he had tracked me down through the internet to write a thank-you letter that stopped me in my tracks and filled my heart with gratitude. He had been one of those 10 year-old boys decades ago in Cabin #5! He told me that his first memory of feeling guidance from God to become an ordained minister were those nighttime devotions I led and the gentleness, patience and love I showed him when he was home-sick.
You just never know. I wonder how you will change a life today. I wonder how God will work through your kindness, patience and gentleness. You just never know how much God needs you and me for God’s creative, compassionate and redemptive work to become real in a broken world. God is good!
June 7, 2018