I sat in the pews of Ponderosa Chapel, cheering along side my peers as the lights dimmed. I knew the routine. Every teen in that building did. Finally, after about being in a cramped van for about 10 hours, my church and I had made it safely onto the famous grounds of Hume Lake Christian Camp. We got there about 3 and a half hours later than we originally planned, which worried us all. No, we weren’t worried about missing the camp food or the hour of free time usually spent on unpacking and bundling up into warmer clothes. No, we were anxious about making it on time to chapel.
Hume Lake decided to choose the story of the rich, young ruler to base their their theme for winter camp this year. This story tells of a young man who came up to Jesus, asking Him what else he must do to ensure he will obtain eternal life. Jesus then explained that he must follow the ten commandments that were given to Moses, but the young ruler explained that he had kept all these since his youth. Then, Jesus told the ruler that he must sell all he owns, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus. Only then would he be able to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. But this man was very rich and wealthy. He turned away from Jesus, unwilling to let go of his materialistic desires and drop everything for Jesus.
Our speaker, Morgan Maitland, took this bible story and tore it apart, piece by piece, for us. I know I could have easily zoned out, debating on whether or not the band met my expectations or complained with my friends about how cold and tired we were. But that wasn’t the case. Often times, I’ve experienced sermons that relate to what the pastor, typically a middle-aged adult, is going through. But Morgan Maitland, a high school pastor from Faith Bible Church, decided to reach out to us on our level.
Maitland explained that we are the the young ruler. Each one of us hold onto something of this world that holds us back from fully falling into God’s plan. It’s like falling out of a boat, which represents earthly idols, and while holding onto that, a life saver, which represents God, is thrown out to you. You can’t hold onto both the boat and the life saver—you have to let go of one. Maitland really made us think, asking what our boat was, what was holding us back from giving ourselves to Jesus. He asked us, “If Jesus were to walk into this room right now, and looked into your heart, and said ‘you need to let go of fill-in-the-blank’ what would that blank be for you?”
In order for us to be able to understand who we are and the purpose God has for us, we have to understand who God is. He was willing to sacrifice His perfect son for us to be able to spend eternity with Him. So in an effort to get our attention, Maitland gave us an analogy.
We were ready for our death. The sword was to our throats. The swordsman was waiting for God to give the ‘go-ahead.’ Right as the sword is about to come down upon us, a man, a king who was pure and sinless removes us from where we stand and takes our place. Before we have a chance so stop him, he gives the swordsman the okay. A man, blameless in every way, stepped in our place. If God was willing to give up His Son for us, we should be willing to give up what holds up back from diving deeper into a relationship with Him. We need to be willing to let go of what we have done and be willing to let God be the ruler of our futures.
Photo Credits: Daelynn Lopez