Seizing Every OpportunityJune 25th, 2013
As I was sitting amongst campers in Sherry’s apartment (a staff member), a girl I had briefly spoken to earlier in the week caught my eye. Everyone else was scattered around the floor and couches, laughing and socializing, but Tori remained in the doorway. Her expression conveyed loneliness, an inner struggle that went unnoticed among all the activity. I called her name and patted the empty seat beside me. She offered a weak, grateful smile and joined me. “What’s going on?” I asked her simply. Before I knew it, she was opening up to me about a struggle at home and even asking me questions about God. In that moment I clearly saw God’s hand. My entire team had gone to Walmart because we had a chunk of free time, but I didn’t need anything and had decided to remain and hang out. This decision enabled me to encourage Tori, pray with her, and even point out to her how God was so clearly and beautifully pursuing her. The entire time I knew what was going on: God was answering my prayer! But let me back up a minute…
This past week, Orange Team was at New Tribes Mission in Missouri. As missionaries met for a conference that updated them before returning to the field, we worshipped with their kids and spent time hanging out with them. Despite the hordes of flies that seemed omnipresent and several rainstorms, we had a blast, whether it was jumping off cliffs into the lake or attacking each other with flour. For the first time, however, I was privileged to experience a different, deeper side of tour than playing crazy games and leading campers in worship. Since May I have been asking God to give me numerous opportunities to have eternally-significant conversations revolving around the Gospel. I knew these chances would come, but up until last week with Tori I was still waiting. It was difficult for me to hear stories from teammates about incredible conversations they had with struggling kids while I desperately waited for kids to open up to me. But then, along came Tori. And I realized something: if I want to talk about God with campers, every conversation is an opportunity to do so. But it’s up to me to take that initiative, to comply with the Spirit’s leading, and boldly proclaim the mysteries of the Gospel. After my talk with Tori, I actually had two more awesome conversations, both initiated by me and prompted by the Spirit. I was so excited to move beyond leading worship on stage, to inviting campers to share their hearts as I shared mine.
I’ve come to realize that the difference between a summer of only fun, games and shallow conversations and a summer of life-changing interactions is…me. I have to have a love for God that compels me to share His love, no matter how intimidating it may be. I have to have a sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading that derives from my time spent learning His voice. The extent of my ministry this summer is completely dependent on my relationship with God. That’s a huge responsibility; one that I haven’t taken seriously enough yet. I recognize that in order to have the kind of Godly, life-changing influence I yearn to have on those I encounter these next 8 weeks, I must daily grow into a deeper love of my King. I must worship beyond the stage. God has provided opportunities to impact for Him; it’s up to me to seize them.