Over the piano, seen by everyone who walks into the dinning hall, are the words: This is His Place.
Deerfoot Lodge is God’s place when the staff meeting begins promptly at 7:00 on Founder’s Lodge porch – as the mist comes off the lake and the sun comes up over the Dugs. DL is God’s place while the details of the day’s schedule are reviewed by the Director, a staff member brings a brief devotional focused on the truths of the Bible as they relate to DL, and as the staff stands at the railing to sing a hymn to the campers who are waking up to a “Beautiful Day at The Lodge.”
DL is His place when the campers are having quiet time. It’s His place when the campers have finished their breakfast of cereal, pancakes and sausage, and are singing the same choruses with the piano and five guitars that have been sung since… before the counselors were born. Deerfoot Lodge is His Place during the 10 – 12 minute After Breakfast Bible Study and when the campers head out to their instructional area.
Deerfoot is God’s place during flex time when campers play soccer, tether ball, go to the camp store, swim, canoe, sail, fish, play foos ball, floor hockey – or sit on the grass on the hill in front of the dining hall, looking at the lake.
Throughout the summer I encouraged the staff, and the campers, to “Do What is Right, Every Time”. Our challenge is to Live In Partnership With God in such a way that we are able to recognize the needs of the people around us – and then to care for them through the enabling power of God’s spirit. Doing what is right for others is not easy, for it often costs us something: time, pride, strength – yes, and sometimes money. Doing what is right before the Lord is not easy for it goes contrary to our sinful nature. Doing what is right often begins with self-control – calming down to consciously ask God for help. Having likeminded people around us is a tremendous encouragement.
Doing what was right caused the staff to push themselves to love the campers as themselves – some times more than they loved themselves at a particular moment. Doing what is right before the Lord, day after day, rain or shine, great camper or struggling camper – the circumstance does not matter. What matters is that the counselors have a God-given responsibility. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:10.
While Deerfoot Counselors are directly involved with the campers, no one is thinking “I have to show the Fruit of the Spirit”. The counselors focus is not on the Fruit of the Spirit, but on the needs of the campers, and those needs are met as the counselors ask for, and receive, the needed Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control – the work of the Holy Spirit within them.
Foundational to doing what is right before the Lord is reading our Bibles, spending time in prayer, and being part of a Christian community. As we maintain our relationship with God, we do become aware of people in need – sometimes great need! At such moments we can reach out to help the person, be they our children, or our husband/wife, the person we sit next to on the bus, work with every day, or the person at church who is often alone, or a visitor, or a close friend. And we reach out with the humble recognition that we need God’s help: “Lord Jesus, I need your love, your wisdom, your strength. Guaranteed: God is concerned about your heart’s desire, not the words you use! Often we do not know the Fruit of the Spirit for we do little that requires them.
Ask the DL counselors at the end of the summer if God has enabled them to be loving, joyful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. They will tell you of miracles – God has used them to impact camper’s lives for His glory.
We too can have this privilege of usefulness to God. This is what Living In Partnership With God is all about.