Many years ago, Executive Director Matt Raines was putting together a brochure about Frontier Camp. In his efforts to succinctly describe camp, he came up with the slogan “Faith, Fun, and Friends!” A few years later, Summer Camp Director Hans Meinardus put that slogan to use in daily camp life. Whenever a leader needs to get the attention of a group of campers, Hans teaches them to use this tactic: The leader hollers, “FAITH! FUN! FRIENDS!”, and as the campers hear the charge, they join in with the leader. Immediately following the chant, all will be quiet to listen for announcements, instructions, etc.
It worked really well right off the bat. But, it was not long before summer campers upgraded the slogan to include one more facet of Frontier Camp that is also a part of our camp culture – FOOD!!!
Boy, do we like food! And, man oh man are we blessed to eat GOOD FOOD here at camp. We love it!
I’ve got to say, it is not just at camp that I like to eat. I like to enjoy food, meaning I like to eat what I like to eat. Now, the problem comes when what I like to eat isn’t always what is best to eat. You see, for me personally, as a creature of habit, my first choice when it comes to choosing a meal is two-fold: convenience and quick satisfaction. I want to eat something that tastes good and that is quick and easy to get in my mouth. That doesn’t always leave me with healthy choices that are good for me in the long run of life. (I’m thankful that our Kitchen Staff is in charge of the camp menu…things would not go so well if that were me)
Chips, snack food, frozen pizza, popcorn, and something sweet to drink are all usually the first on my brain. These snack foods are not bad in and of themselves, but if they make up the vast majority or even a big portion of my daily diet, I won’t be healthy for long. I won’t be able to enjoy the rest of my life here at camp – the faith, the fun, and the friends – if I’m not disciplined with the FOOD.
I find myself yet again in January looking to reassess my daily consumption of calories. It is not the amount of calories, but the KIND of calories that I’ve been consuming that needs to change. When I eat mostly junk food, I also don’t sleep as well as I need to and then I’m not nearly as active during the day as I should be.
Our spiritual lives are like this, too. If not disciplined, I can look to feed myself spiritually with things that are convenient and/or quickly satisfying.
In the middle of Colossians, a letter all about our Lord Jesus Christ and how we can live a life that pleases Him, Paul urges the believers to embrace the necessity of consuming the Word of God.
And let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16
This charge comes in the middle of a section dripping with exhortations in living a Christ-like life and speaks to what should be the source of spiritual nourishment. The Word of God is to RICHLY DWELL within the believer. Not just a little bit. But there’s more.
The Lord tells us through Peter to crave time in God’s Word.
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 2:1-3
This passage speaks to the believer’s desire and dependence upon the Word of God. Have you ever witnessed a hungry infant desire his bottle of milk? Do you crave and depend upon God’s Word like that?
Lastly, we are not to consume just milk. If a human did nothing but consume milk, he/she would not mature properly. Eventually, that little person learns to eat “table food” or real food. You don’t give them a bottle; you give them a banana…and then at some point a steak!
The author of Hebrews warns us against only consuming spiritual milk.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:13-14
I’ve told the campers before that milk comes from a cow. And that cow ate grass and turned it into milk. So, basically, milk is food that someone else chewed and digested for you first. While milk does a body good, maturing people need solid, healthy food as well.
Spiritually speaking, that means that we don’t just get our intake of scripture from someone else teaching us, whether that be through a sermon on Sunday, a midweek Bible study, or a devotional book. These things are great and can be very helpful. But, if we are not disciplined and patient enough to get into the Bible regularly on our own, we will not spiritually mature properly and will not have the Word of Christ richly dwelling within us.
So, here is my charge to us all. As we think about this new year and our diets, and as we think about this upcoming summer at Frontier Camp (which is going to be awesome btw), let us make our daily diet of God’s Word a high priority in our life. Without a healthy diet of the Bible, we will get spiritually sluggish. We won’t be as compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving or loving (Col 3:12-14). We won’t be able to rest in the peace that passes understanding (Col 3:15).
But, with a good diet of God’s Word coming from daily quiet times, from small group Bible studies, and from Sunday sermons, we will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. We will mature to be more like Christ. Then we will really be able to live out our FAITH!
At camp, FOOD is important. GOOD FOOD is very important! I hope and pray that at camp and in your and our homes, we will make sure that GOD FOOD – His Word to us in the Bible – will be just as important.