Monday, July 13, 2009

Pass It On

As Yogi Berra said, it’s like déjà vu all over again.

Over the weekend my wife and I visited with our last two kids still at home. This summer, they are both serving in Christian camps in different parts of the state. Our daughter is on the camp staff at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly in Oak Island, NC. Our son is a counselor at the Caraway Boys Camp near Asheboro, NC. This weekend was a half-way break in their summer, and we got to see a little of what their life has been thus far.

As we walked the beach Saturday night, hearing our daughter laugh and talk with her new friends made on staff, and listened to our son telling stories about camp experiences, there was a vague sense that this had happened before. It became clear to me in Sunday worship.

30 years ago this summer, I was in Cleveland, OH, serving as a student summer missionary in both the inner city and suburbs. 30 years ago last summer, my wife was a student summer missionary in Buffalo, NY. Those were pivotal events in our lives, shaping and defining where our paths were to lead. As I reflected on those summer experiences and what has transpired since then, I realized the importance of what my kids were experiencing now.

The speaker in the worship service at camp sealed the thought for me. Not only is she an active youth pastor, over the years 3 of her sons had also served on the staff of this camp. So as she spoke Sunday, the words and stories she told were very real – and they became an affirmation to me as well.

She spoke of gifts that can’t be repaid, but simply passed on to others:

  • Salvation
  • God’s Presence
  • Hope

In the long hours, low pay, and lack of applause, the camp staff was reminded that in the process of losing our lives for others, we often find our lives. I know that was the case for my wife and I over 30 years ago.

I wonder what events are shaping my children’s lives this summer, and what they are passing on to those kids they come into contact with?

What about you? What are you “passing on” today?

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