Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Romans 12:11-13 (The Message)
Thursday… it has always been a bit of an odd day in camp. It’s in a weird spot, pinched between “Half-Way Up the Mountain Day” and “it’s Friday Y’all!” What do you do with it? Your week’s not quite over yet, but maybe you’ve started thinking about going back to the valley below. For sure your cabin is looking and smelling like it’s Thursday. Truth is, there is still work to be done, people to serve, bonds to strengthen and a God to worship.
Word for word, Romans 12 may be some of the Apostle Paul’s best stuff. Paul encourages us to be inventive in hospitality. What do you think this looks like? Being ‘inventive’ means changing up your everyday habits. When you arrived on the mountain, did you show hospitality to your new friends through small talk and easy conversations? At your Monday job site, were you nervous to show hospitality to the family?
As your week has gone by, and your cabin has started to smell like Thursday, your hospitality towards your fellow campers, and your work-site families has probably grown deeper and more inventive. How have your conversations changed?
It isn’t easy to dig deep and have courage in hospitality towards strangers, but it is what God calls us to do!
Paul encourages us to not burn out, stay fueled and aflame, to be alert servants and to not quit in hard times. Great advice. Have you felt any of that this week so far? Burnt out or running on an empty tank? Has there been a time this week when you have been ready to quit? The nails kept bending in the wood, the post hole wasn’t deep enough, we keep getting lost, it doesn’t seem like I’m connecting with the kids at Day Camp…. is God even with me?
Paul’s advice when this happens, and it will happen, is to pray all the harder and to continue to help and serve. The great thing about a week on the mountain is that there is some way everyone can help and serve. I’ve always loved the unique ways I’ve seen other people in my MPT and throughout camp serve and show hospitality. It's only limited by our own minds. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. said,
“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t need to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
You have been hearing a lot this week about courage and how it relates to our faith journey. It took courage for you to come this week. It takes courage to be away from home, away from family and friends. It takes courage to lead a prayer for the first time, to help with worship, to meet new people and allow yourself to be open to movement of the Holy Spirit.
At some point today, your thoughts will begin to turn towards heading home on Saturday; it’s almost unavoidable. And as much as we would love to “live on a mountain top”, we are called back to our own communities, our own neighborhoods, our own churches. We are called to go back home and to begin to love our neighbors there, where we live, with the same amount of passion and excitement as we have been doing this week. And that takes courage too. It takes guts. It takes a heart that’s been transformed and set on fire!
Take a moment to think through these questions:
How can you continue to be inventive in hospitality when you leave the mountain?
What new way of showing hospitality did you experience this week and how can you share that back home?
As you get ready to head out for the day, take just a moment and invite the Holy Spirit to give you exactly what you need today. Maybe it’s the courage to show hospitality in some new way. Begin thinking about who your neighbor is back home. Say the words of this hymn as a prayer…
“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me, Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me”
Allow your heart to be opened to something new and unique today, and be strong and courageous in the Lord!
Elise Burns & Curtis Clarke