There comes a time in life when you want something terribly. Something that is difficult. Something that is going to cost you. And you finally want that something badly enough to pay the price. For some people it is a sport, a job, a mission trip, a college they want to attend. But something comes into your life that pushes you over the edge and for the first time ever you bust your hiney off to accomplish that task.
For some kids, that something is to be a camp counselor.
They have been a camper for years. And they have been watching the counselors, admiring them, envying them. Then they turn 15 and the possibility is before them. If only they will fill out an enormous pile of paperwork, convince their parents and pastor and Scruffy that they are responsible, and pay for the privilege to learn the job at Staff Training…then they too can become a camp counselor, in training.
Many of them give up, but some of them will succeed. They will fill out the papers and get the pastoral reference and do the Bible study. Then they arrive at camp to be trained for something that they really really want to do.
It is our privilege to open up the big beautiful world of work and sacrifice and labor and toil to these frightfully young individuals. We teach them how to sweep a floor so that the dirt hidden in the corners actually ends up in the trash. We show them how to plunge a toilet and clean out the dunk tank and how to sneak a urine filled sleeping bag into the wash before a child has a chance to be embarrassed.
We teach them how to set themselves aside for the sake of others and it hurts. Sacrifice is painful, especially that very first time. But then we get to watch them grow. We get to see them singing fast songs with bright-eyed Jr. Campers when all they want to do is collapse on the couch and snore through chapel. We get to see them restocking the bathrooms when they see the empty dispensers, when a week ago they would have just logged a complaint.
Yeah, it isn’t always pleasant to drag a group of new C.I.T.’s (counselors in training) into the real world. But it is also a privilege. Because we get to be the ones who tell them “Yes, you can do this.” And then watch them do something difficult and beautiful and important. And we get to see their eyes when they realize that yes, it was worth it after all.
Philippians 2:3-7–“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but make himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…”