As part of our vacation this year Kristi (my wife) and I spent a few days up at Hume Lake Christian camps. Hume is a beautiful place, nestled in Sequoia National Park surround by majestic granite mountain ranges, magnificent redwood trees, fragrant ponderosa pines, and a lovely lake. It is the home of Hume Lake Christian Camps where thousands have found faith in Jesus, made great growth strides in their faith, and made radical life-changing decision. I have been visiting Hume every year for the past 38 years and I too have made many life-changing, life-altering decisions up there. I do love that place!
Well, one morning as we were eating our breakfast by the boat dock, I noticed one of the campers from the high school camp wandering around the lake front. He looked like he was killing some time waiting for his friends. Normally, a scene like this would have gone unnoticed or not giving much attention, but I had just spent time reading my Bible and pondering those great verses about discipleship. Discipleship meaning those interactive connections between fellow Christians that cause one another to thrive as followers of Jesus
Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in1 the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2 Timothy 2:2 and what you (Timothy) have heard from me (Paul) in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Matthew 5:14-16 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
As I read these and other Bible verses and was praying about what the Lord would have me to learn from this time with Him, waiting and looking for Him to teach, challenge, and inspire me on in my faith, I noticed this student. What I noticed first was what he was not doing! He was not being destructive; not kicking at the plants, not throwing rocks, not making a mess. No, what he was doing was picking up trash! He would walk around notice a bag here and cup there and pick them up and take it to a trash can. I watched him make several trips. He even almost fell in the lake stretching to pick up a candy bar wrapper floating just off shore.
On about his fifth trip to the trashcan Kristi thanked him and he revealed his motivation; it was not to be noticed or congratulated, he had a bigger cause, it was not so his recreation team could win points or to fulfill some disciplinary action. No this young environmentalist was picking up trash because he cared for the animals. He responded to Kristi’s appreciate with a telling question. “Do you know how many animals die eating trash? No I am serious,” as he stopped in a dramatic pause gesturing up towards the lake. “This,” he held up a fist full of trash, “kills!” Both Kristi and I thanked him for caring for God’s creation as he went on about his mission.
As I thought about this kid, I wondered what clicked in him to be inspired to action. Maybe he was so taken with God’s handiwork that he wanted to do all he could to preserve it. Maybe God had given him a deep love for animals that he was compelled to do something. Maybe he was just bored and decided to do something, so why not pick up trash and as he did this, his cause emerged. I don’t know, but what I do know was that I was inspired. I started noticing the trash around me and felt compelled to action, to throw it away.
This kid’s inspired actions inspired me! He was living out Matthew 5:16 (see above). This is an element of discipleship, inspiring others to action. Actions that are bigger then ourselves, that are selfless and yet we gain so much from them. What about you? Are you inspired to be involved in something bigger than yourself? Are your passionate actions inspiring others? Are you letting the light of your good works shine so others see how loving, and kind, and compassionate, and glorious God is?
The challenge is to be open to be inspired and to let that inspiration move you to action…that in turn, will inspire others. I know it did for me…maybe you too?
Seeking to be inspired to action with you,