Next week, I will be at camp with our young men and women. We are expecting over 120 strong as we come together with Midway Baptist Church at Camp Victory in Florala, Alabama. Our theme for the week is "Heroes". We will study the heroes and the zeroes of the Bible and how faith in the living God made the difference. We will memorize Scripture. We will preach the Gospel. We will champion the call to missions. We will give a biblical challenge to purity and a set apart life for the glory of Jesus Christ. We will give truth and pray that convictions will form about marriage and family. We will sing and eat and have fun for God's glory.
In thinking through our theme "Heroes", I was drawn to the life and legacy of Jim Elliott who in 1956 was martyred on the mission field in Ecuador at the age of 27. At the age of 22, he wrote the following to his parents about his missionary call to take the Gospel to South America,
“I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves that we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your son seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them.. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly---all of them, straight at the Enemy’s host."
Where do 22 year olds like that come from? They don't fall from the sky. The short answer is, God's sovereign grace. His grace makes a heart like that, and God often uses the incubator of a godly home and a faithful church to cast the vision.
This week it will be my joy to sow the Word into young hearts. For ten years I have made this journey with them, and my annual question for them is, "Do you have vision for the next ten years of your life?" I know, they can't plan for all the twists in the road, the unexpected events of life. But they can develop convictions. They can set their heart to seek and serve the Lord.
I think of the 16 year old who in ten years will probably be married. How do you get ready for that? Most just live for the moment, and they stumble into their 20's clueless. God has a better way. It is the walk of faith which clings to the living God as one's treasure, and when we come to know Him and trust Him the next ten years is embraced with joy and hope and direction and conviction. May God be please to raise up from our little congregation Jim Elliot types who radically live their lives for the Savior. Young men and women who have counted the cost and say, "For me to live is Christ!"
Pray with me to that end.
Expecting great things in Alabama,