I’ve been to a lot of summer camps. And whether they take place in South Africa or America, they have a few things in common: a lot of noise, very competitive games, and a night of dedication (usually the last night of the week).
This night is extremely special. It provides a much-needed break from the straight fun and intensity of the rest of the camp week and gives campers a chance to publicly show that they’re willing to move forward in their faith. However, I can sadly say that after a few years of camps, these nights have really lost their impact to me. Often, I’ll be quick to mentally judge those who do go up to the front and dedicate their lives to God. Maybe I’ve seen them walk up in years prior, or they just don’t seem (to me) like the type of people who would be willing to really go for the challenge that such a dedication presents. This whole thought process passed through my head last year at summer camp, and when it did, I realized what an absolute hypocrite I was (and am). Whether I was postponing my devotions until the end of the day, only to skip them due to exhaustion, or not being dedicated enough to follow through with my Bible reading plan, I took the easy route constantly in my spiritual life last year.
As I was at sitting down in that camp meeting hall, I had to take a very large step back (metaphorically). And I think this whole slap-in-the-face experience helped me take away one very important point.
Growing up in Christian circles, it’s easy to get subconsciously cynical and apathetic about certain aspects of Christianity. I often see people and quickly think that they won’t make the “Christian cut” (like in the dedication situation earlier). That’s an insanely off-base concept, and Paul demonstrates that pretty well in 1 Corinthians 1:
“For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” – 1 Corinthians 1:19-20 (NIV)
So many biblical heroes were either wimps or just generally terrible people, yet God used them just as much as those of noble birth. I mean, David is called the “man after God’s own heart”, and the guy had some major problems. In the end, God isn’t viewing people through a worldly lens in any way; like it says in that passage, He will destroy the wisdom of the wise and frustrate the intelligence of the intelligent. He’ll bypass human standards of character and value what we hold so high and use people we would probably rather not be near.
And thankfully, He knows best.