Today after VBS some of the staff stayed late to share a devo time of worship and prayer. It was great to check in and share the highs and lows we have experienced this week, and it is hard to believe that tomorrow will be our last day of camp! VBS is a really multi-faceted ministry because there is an obvious focus on teaching kids about God’s love, but there are also aspects of discipleship for the student leaders and outreach to the families who send their kids to us.
It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that each kid running rambunctiously through the snack area not only represents a future adult but also represents a family in our community. Some of these families have health concerns, financial worries, emotional problems, and/or spiritual struggles, and for five days we get to walk alongside them by modelling God’s love to their children. Today during our prayer we asked God’s blessing on the kids, staff and families who are affected by VBS, and it was such a special reminder for me that this week of camp is valuable in and of itself. Whatever results we see long term, that will be a bonus and a blessing and a huge encouragement for the hard work we have done, but ultimately we are spending this week in faith that God has a big-picture plan that we are part of. Of course, we would love if some of these families will see that our church could be a place for them to belong and grow, and we will get to continue investing in these kids throughout the year, but I’m making a point of not focusing too much on that.
1 Corinthians 3:7-9 says,
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
If there are kids who stay and we can keep investing in them, it would be so great! However I don’t want to waste the time that we have now to work for God in the time he has given us. Whether the seeds we plant blossom in front of our eyes or whether it takes years of patient watering, weeding, and waiting, the credit will belong to God, so I want to keep my focus not on the instant gratification of cute kids but on the privilege of being a fellow worker with God, of being included by him in building up these kids for him.
The VBS song that has been stuck in my head all day goes,
Stand strong when life changes
Stand strong through the ups and downs
Stand strong for you know that God is in control
And I can’t help but think that the real fruit of kids believing this message won’t be shown through growth in our Sunday school program, but it will happen during bedtime prayers and dinner table conversations and decisions kids make at school with their friends (all things we won’t see). For some kids we are planting seeds of faith this week, and for some kids we are watering seeds that others have planted, but either way it feels great to be so close to the end of this week and know the outcome is in God’s hands.
We are working hard, but it is very good work to be doing.