Core scripture: “And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)
Message: It was my 4th day at church camp. I stumbled up the hill and planted myself at a wooden picnic table, hoping for a little quiet time to pray. Exhaustion consumed me as I wiped the sleep out of my eyes. No sooner than 30 seconds into my prayer, one of the 8th grade boys planted himself across from me.
“Hey!” he greeted me cheerfully.
This was NOT part of my plan. Part of me wanted to roll my eyes, but another part of me yearned to hear the kid out. I could tell something was wrong. He wasn’t his normal cheery self.
“Sooo, I had a pretty rough night last night,” he began.
My heart softened to him. He just needed someone to talk to. Turns out some of the boys in his cabin were giving him a rough time the night before. I just listened and probed gently into the issue with questions. There was no other magical formula besides empathy to quiet his soul. At the end of our conversation, I prayed over him.
“Thanks!” he smiled up at me. “I needed that conversation.”
That was a fulfilling moment for me; however, there is a second part to this story—something I am not as proud of. You see, I saw that same kid the following morning from a distance. We locked eyeballs. I smiled and nodded at him, but I kept walking with my son back to the cabin. Yeah, to be completely transparent, I avoided him.
That evening we heard one of our youth pastors preach about the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). You probably know the story. A man gets robbed and beaten on the road, and two worthy men, a priest and a Levite, pass him by; however, another man, a Samaritan, bandages up his wounds and cares for him until he is recovered.
My heart sank. As many times as I have heard that story, I never considered myself to be like the ones who walked on by, but there I was, walking right by the boy who needed me. I quietly asked the Lord’s forgiveness right there. We crossed paths later after chapel, and I planted myself next to him to check in on the kid.
“I missed our conversation this morning,” he began. “But I found Kenny, and he talked to me, so everything is okay.”
It certainly takes a village. I felt relief that the camper got the counsel he needed from another adult, and I am so glad the Lord used him to pick up the broken pieces.
I suppose we can all be like the Levite or the priest. Teachers get busy. Maybe you are catching up on grading or emails, and you ignore the broken child standing before you. Or maybe you listen halfheartedly as you continue hacking at your computer, not comprehending a thing the kid says.
Guilty as charged, your Honor.
There are two types of perspectives you can have: a Godly perspective or a worldly perspective. Sometimes we need to shift our focus from ourselves to what God needs from us, and when we see the world through the lens of the Holy Spirit, God can accomplish amazing things.
Challenge: As the 2022-23 school year begins, see your students through God’s eyes.
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for the opportunities He gives you to uplift and encourage others.
- Pray that you can be the teacher that not only sees needy students but also ministers to them.
- Pray for kids coming home from church camps to be lights for Christ in their schools.
Just for fun: This Saturday Night Live clip featuring Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon is pretty much 100 percent accurate for any church camp. Check it out!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I let my selfish ways invade what You have planned for me. Help me see the world through Your eyes. Amen.