My last summer at camp I was blessed with a cabin of ten teenage boys. That sounds strange, but its true. I was given charge of ten guys. Nine of them were athletic and very strong, but the other one was small and, I hate to say it "nerdy." God used those guys to teach me more lessons then I have learned before or since.
That was the week of the non-bible study bible studies. I figured out pretty quickly that these guys wouldn't get it if I sat them down and got them into the Word. I also had a sneaking suspicion that they wouldn't get into doing peer bible studies, as I called them-- a "peer bible study" was something I did with teenagers. I broke them into pairs and would give them each a day and they would come up with the study. I was often amazed at how well they did, but this crew-- I wasn't so sure. So I came up with bible studies on the fly. In short, they were object lessons.
Here are two of them. Sunday night I got to know the guys and I knew I had to "break them" pretty quick, so Monday after lunch I took the guys up to the what was then simply called "the slab," it was nothing more then a large concrete slab that was destined to become an outdoor, enclosed basketball court (eventually to be dubbed the "hangar" by yours truely). I took these guys up to the slab with brooms and told them to sweep it up, I wanted it clean and I wanted it done quickly. They protested, but they did it. After about ten minutes I called them together and told them to remember that because I wouldn't hesitate to do something like that again if they gave me any problems. They got the message pretty quick. Suddenly an idea struck me. I took one of the brooms and put the end of the handle on my hand and the bristle end was vertical and I started to balance it on my hand. I did this for a few minutes and asked if anyone else wanted to try. Of course these guys said sure. So they tried and failed, miserably. So I did it again and was successful. I asked if could figure out what they were doing wrong. None of them did (like I said they weren't the brightest bunch in the box). So I showed them again. They tried it again and they started to get the hang of it. I gave them a hint: look at the bristles, not your hand. That worked. They got it. They took turns keeping the broom upright and they were quite proud of themselves, until, that is I asked them what they had learned. They were stumped. They didn't get it. *sigh* I broke it down for them.
What happens when you look at your hand and not the broom?
Broom falls over.
What happens when you look at the bristles and not the hand?
The broom stays up and is balanced and you can walk around with the broom on your hand and look all cool.
How is the broom like faith?
Keep your eyes on the prize. Keep your eyes (heart on Jesus) and you can't fall over. As soon as you look down and to yourself you fall down.
The guys got that and felt pretty good about themselves.
The next one really blew my lid and I think effected me more then anything else in my four summers at camp.
One day, after lunch we didn't have anything planned that we had to be at-- in other words no pool time that required lifeguards. I wasn't sure what we were going to do, but as we left the cabin another idea struck me. The only reason this worked was none of these guys had been to camp before-- amazingly. I said simply "take me to the place of the white cross." They looked at me like I had a hole in my head. They started asking me questions "where is it?
"Pnut, you're crazy-- what are you talking about?"
I replied "take me to the place of the white cross."
So they started walking, but they didn't know where they were walking to. They saw a fellow counselor and they said "Pnut's gone nuts. He wants us to go to the white cross. Do you have any idea what he means?" Believe it or not the counselor didn't have a clue. So we walked on. They would pester me about "being crazy and dumb" and I would repsond "take me to the place of the white cross." This went on for a good hour or so and we went in the complete wrong direction. We actually ended up at what was called Alleluia Hill. They were pretty happy with themselves! They had found a place of three crosses! I busted their bubbles pretty quick. Yes, it is three crosses, but not THE white cross. They started grumbling again.
So they started walking again, but this time they were headed in the right direction. I just telling them I wanted to the place of the "white cross." They started asking campers and counselors. Longish story shortened: they were pointed in the right direction by a counselor who looked at me with a crazy look. He told them he thought it was at Sunset devotion site. They became ravenous, seriously. They started asking any one they could find where Sunset devotion was, once they got on the right path they started running. I walked slowly. Finally, I heard: "HEY, PNUT! WE FOUND IT! WE FOUND IT!" And sure enough, they had. They all sat down the bench by the white cross and looked all kinds of happy. Then I hit them with this: good job-- now what did you learn. I saw it bloom on their faces one by one. They had stopped everything and started looking for the place of the white cross. It had become all engrossing. It became a mission of sorts. Then I pointed out WHAT they were looking for...
I didn't have to say anything more. They were in shock after it all came together.
I said to them simply: "keep that in mind in your walk. Never lose site of the cross. Its there. Always." They were quite a bit quiet as we walked back to the cabin. I noticed that evening they were busy telling others about the adventure and they made it a point to find the counselors that either led them astray or didn't help at all. That night as we got ready for bed I reminded them about what they had done and also told them about the "going and telling" they had done.
I think they learned alot that day. I know I did. That was a life lesson for yours truly.