We have just completed our annual Vacation Bible School. And as usual, we had lots of volunteers who helped make it a success. We had a great number of kids and adults in attendance each night. And I know that people were blessed to be a part of it. Certainly, memories were made.
I can remember growing up going to VBS. We would have a great time in classes and singing songs like “Arky Arky” and “The B-I-B-L-E”. I can remember the after party, as it were, where would we drink Kool-Aid, eat Keebler Sugar Wafers, and run around outside like banshees. Ahh...those were the days! I can remember all the men and women who worked tirelessly to make sure we had a great experience, learned about God’s word, and came to know the importance of encouraging others to be a part of the church. Many of those volunteers are still alive to this day. When I see them I am reminded of their commitment to Christ and his church. I am able to look back on my life and see how those childhood moments of fun and laughter worked within me a desire to serve.
I wonder if we ever stop to think about how influential we as adult are. Notice I didn’t say how influential we as adult “can” be…I said “are”. We have a great impact on the young people around us. Either for good or bad. We have so many wonderful opportunities to nudge our young people toward a spirit of giving and selflessness. But are we modeling that spirit before them. I have some memories of Christians who felt it their duty to belittle and berate kids…when they simply acted like kids. Didn’t seem like a Christ-like spirit back then…and doesn’t even to this day. Why is it that we fail to understand how vital our attitude and actions are? Why is it that we so often model a selfish attitude for our young people? Perhaps it’s simply the struggle we face of being like Christ.
Selfishness seems to overwhelm us at times. We are so concerned with what we get out of every experience. I think the apostle Paul understood this very well. Notice what he wrote to the Christians in Galatia,
“It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:12-14).
Paul is clear that selfish ambition seems to be the ways of many. But crucifying one’s own life with its desires, is the way of Christ. Previously, Paul wrote, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:13-14). Through love, serve one another. The act of serving others necessitates a giving of oneself and helps to squelch the selfish spirit within.
God calls his people to a life of service. This is not an option for one professing faith in Christ. If we claim to be followers of his, then by virtue of that claim, we must be about serving. That’s who Christ was...that’s who we are supposed to be. I remember those who served as they worked long and hard on those Vacation Bible School experiences so many years ago. And I still see it today. Another song I remember singing made the declaration that we are in the “Lord’s Army”. And indeed, we are. We are part of God’s army of servants!