Christianity 201

March 24, 2011

Run it by God First

My wife and I met at an interdenominational summer camp in eastern Ontario where she was the food services director, and I was there to teach a one-week staff training session on “relationships.”  (Always good when you can provide a teachable moment by starting a lifelong one at the same time!)

Camp IAWAH is actually an acronym for In All Ways Acknowledge Him, taken from a familiar passage in Proverbs 3: 5-6.  Here’s the larger context:

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Some of you work in an office or on an assembly line where you have to “submit” to a boss on any changes you’re making, decisions you’re facing, or new initiatives you’re considering.  You may have some creative control, but unless it’s “rubber stamped” by someone higher up the chain of command, you don’t really have the authority to just forge ahead by yourself, or issue orders to others to act solely on your command.

But verse 6 in the NLT clarifies this isn’t just talking about asking for God’s approval on a decision you’ve basically already made, but also looking to him for guidance in advance:

Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

However, I don’t think the latter element negates the former.  God has given each of us intelligence, insight and other giftings, and I believe sometimes he does indeed throw the ball back in our court and says, “What do you think would be the best thing to do here?”

“Uh, God, I was hoping that you would make that clear.”

So, if I may, let me suggest that part of our submission to God might involve something like, ‘Work out your decision-making with fear and trembling.’  Seek his advance guidance to be sure, but in the absence of clear direction, or direction to simply wait, make the clear and logical decision that most honors Him or is most productive for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.  Then talk to Him about it and ask for continued guidance.

Are you one of the “givers?”  While churches and ministry organizations are often pleading for money, there is a small group of generous Christ-followers who are often looking for projects worthy of their support.  If that’s you, consider interdenominational Christian residential camp ministries.  Their needs are great and many limp along with just a handful of supporters.

Someone once said, “You can accomplish more in the life of a child with one week of camp than you can with 52 weeks of Sunday School.”  I don’t want to minimize the importance of weekly Christian education, but the statement does reflect the potential life change that can take place in the life of a child when removed from the comforts of home.  Contact me for information on how you can track down camp ministries in your area, and remember, we’re talking about rustic summer camps that take in kids for a simple program of sports, crafts, and devotions; not five-star conference centers!

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