I will be spending next weekend working at a women’s retreat. I have been attending preparation meetings, putting together my presentation, and making arrangements for my family to be without me for three days. I am ready. I’m looking forward to it.
But you know what? I’m a little bit not looking forward to it. I mean, I know it’ll be great. I’ll be around new and old friends. I’m going to learn from the teaching. I will love the music. It’s going to be great. But it’s a little too much like camping for me. Bunk beds. Shower house. Walking outside between sleeping rooms, dining hall, and chapel. Ugh. So much like camping. I don’t like camping.
Here’s the hard truth, friends. Service costs us something. That’s why we’re so tempted to say no when opportunities come our way. Our answers are things like, I don’t have the time for that or I don’t have the money for that. I’m not really interested in that or I’m not very good at that. But it generally boils down to this fact – saying yes to the opportunity is going to cost us something and we would rather stay in the comfortable place we’ve created for ourselves. Ouch, I know.
I’ve done it. I do it. I see an open door to be a blessing to someone else and I talk myself out of it. Why? Because I recognize the cost. Doing it means I have to sacrifice something. So I resist.
There’s a bible story about a man who approaches Jesus. He asks Jesus what he must do to get eternal life. The story says that Jesus looked upon the man with love and told him he needed to sell off all of his earthly possessions, give his wealth to the poor, and then follow Him. The story ends this way – The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go (MSG). Not about to let go. I don’t think Jesus cared that the man was wealthy. I think He cared that the money got in the way. In order to fully follow Jesus, I have to let go of whatever gets in the way.
So I’m going camping next weekend even though I don’t like camping. When I can’t sleep on those thin mattresses or when my shower isn’t hot enough to suit me, I will probably ask myself… why am I here? And I hope – oh, how I hope – that I feel a check in my spirit when I do that. I hope I remember that man in the story and how he walked away with a heavy heart. I don’t want that to be my story. So I’m going camping. Pray for me, friends. Peace!