Twenty one years before becoming the Director of Deerfoot Lodge I received a life changing challenge.
While driving back from my admissions interview for Baylor Medical School, I remember thinking “I can be a doctor… but do I really want to be a doctor?” My father was an MD and my older brother, and our mutual friend, Paul Groen, were in Baylor Medical School. I had never really given any thought to being anything but a doctor.
One evening while at a concert, Mr. Garret Groen invited me to come to his home so he could talk with me. It was an easy yes for me as Mr. Groen lived a block from our home. The Groen’s home was set back on property with several large trees, and impressive due to its modern design. I was warmly greeted at the door and we went into the living room. We were still standing when Mr. Groen said “Chuck, I just cannot get it out of my mind – I think you should consider going into the ministry, not into medicine. So often we present the finest product in shabby packaging. I believe that Jesus Christ is “the finest product” and we should present Him to the world in the best packaging. I challenge you to do this!”
Our Lord never asks anyone to do anything “half way”:
- “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” — Mt 6:33
- “No one can serve two masters” — Mt 6:24
- “If you love me, you will obey what I command. — Jn 14:15
- “Forgive …seventy-seven times.” — Mt 18:21-22
- “Love your neighbor as yourself” — Lk 10:27
The Lord does good work: consider the design, the inter-relatedness, the beauty of creation. Remember the detail God went into when it came to building His portable temple. How He directed the tribes to stand around the temple. How He led the children of Israel by day, by night. How He directed King Solomon to build His beautiful temple.
The Lord asks for our best! Who we are, inside and out, and what we do is how we bring this “finest product” to our sinful world. Our Lord asks us to “Be holy, because I am holy.” — I Pet 1:16, to “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” — Ps 37:7, to work hard: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” — Ecc 9:10, to take time for reflection: “consider the lilies of the field” — Mt 6:28, and to “run with perseverance the race set before us.” — Heb 12:1
My challenge at DL: Finest Product, Best Packaging. As Director of Deerfoot Lodge, I had the privilege of working at this challenge with the full support and guidance of the DL Board of Directors. The underlying question in every Board discussion was/is “what is best for the ministry of Deerfoot Lodge?” Building godly young men requires DL to work at modeling excellence in every area of camp: program development, selection, training, and compensation of summer staff, food service, nursing care, equipment, marketing, camper scholarship provisions and facility. I mention facility maintenance and development last so I can bring special focus on the 2000 hours given each work weekend by volunteers to provide the beautiful, functional facility.
There are many differences between the Lord and us! One is… the Lord does it right the first time!! The DL Board was very comfortable with my sending them a report the week before their next meeting – and then my giving them an amended report at the meeting. They were pleased that I had continued to think through the best way to do something. Their openness encouraged me to say to the campers and staff “show me a better way to do something, and we will do it.” At the end of every summer I walked one on one with every male summer staff member. They knew the questions I would ask. What were the goals for the summer you wrote down in staff training? How did you do? How could we have prepared you better for your work this summer? If you were Director, what would you do differently? How can I do my job better? The staff knew I wanted straight answers and they gave them! Because of their suggestions, changes were made.
The finest “product” is Jesus Christ. We have the joy of working In Partnership With God as we bring Him into the lives of people – and through people, to a world in great need. Let us do all for the Glory of God.