As I looked around the room I saw unfamiliar faces, a rarity in my small town. Over 200 people had gathered at my church in Northern Indiana. As a pastor’s kid, I often got roped into every church event and activity. Soup for the Soul, our church’s meal program to the homeless, was no exception. For me, Soup for the Soul was different. As a flawed human being, I overlooked many of the people in my local community who would come to this bi-monthly event.
There were a diverse age group present, most of which I didn’t know. I learned new stories from elder shut-ins I would deliver meals to. They loved the sense of community and warm food. I got to play tag with the young kids two Tuesdays a month. These kids were guaranteed a warm meal and a place to feel welcomed without judgement or hesitation of acceptance.
As I look back at those days I realize that my passion for ministry was birthed from those moments and that I received far more than I gave. I was taught humility, the importance of community, and an understanding of the challenges this world is often filled with. Most importantly, I learned that God meets us where we’re at and He chooses to bless every child. Not just the children with clean clothes and brushed teeth, and not just the children who know Him.
Matthew 25:35-36 reads, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
After this experience, volunteering became so much more to me than a “duty.” I learned that the calling to serve others is mentioned so much in the Bible because it truly reveals the nature of our God and expands our understanding of who He is. What started as a begrudging way to fulfill God’s commandment was a catalyst of change in my own heart. He is a God who cares. A God who loves, and a God who does not forget His children.
Thanksgiving Working Weekend is just around the corner. This weekend is a time when people come and help Warm Beach Camp prepare for The Lights of Christmas festival. It is a huge blessing for the staff to have volunteers work alongside to create an event that brings the hope and joy of Christmas to others.
Would you please join us? Along with the blessing of serving others, it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and be part of the community of Christ at Warm Beach Camp. We would love to have you!
Thanksgiving Working Weekend is November 22-25, 2018. Come for a day or for the entire weekend. For more information and to register visit https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/thanksgiving-working-weekend
Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center