At the conclusion of the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus instructed his disciple to collect the leftovers with the command, Let nothing go to waste. (John 6:12) After everyone was stuffed, there were 12 baskets full of leftover bread – one for each disciple.
Stewardship is an expectation of the Christian life. As God’s supreme creation, the job of superintending this world falls to us. We are to rule over the work of God’s hands and do our best to, Let nothing be waste. Unfortunately, we have not always done a great job of caring for God’s creation. God expects us to use what He has made and to enjoy His creation – but He wants us to use it well.
The physical world is only the beginning. Responsibility and good stewardship go far beyond what we see and touch. Jesus’ command is to, Let nothing be wasted. Nothing is a big word; it encompasses our games, our singing, our staff training, our registration, our meal times, our Bible studies, our campfires and every other aspect of camp.
So, how do we, in the Christian camping world, Let nothing be wasted? The answer is – intentionality. The more that we design each part of camp to express our values and fulfill our biblical commitments, the more we will redeem each moment and use them effectively. The more intentionally we design and implement our camp experiences, the more we will see our efforts multiplied and the more our campers and guests will benefit from camp.
Let nothing go to waste, also addresses the spiritual needs of our campers and staff. Camp provides a wonderful place for spiritual decisions and commitments. Opportunities for deep, life-changing discussions should not be wasted. Bible studies, devotional times, and sermons, should be well designed to meet campers’ needs with biblical truth.
But just as important are the components of the camp experience that some might not define as spiritual. I resist camps constructing chapels on their property – not because I don’t like Bible teaching, singing or devotions – I love them. I just worry that a chapel building makes the subtle statement, “This is where we do God things – and out there life is different”. Camp is a great place to weave our Christian commitment into the full fabric of life. What does the Christian life look like when we are waiting for dinner and the food is late? What does the Christian life look like when the rain washes out our favorite game? What does the Christian life look like when a slow hiker delays our return and we miss swimming class? Let nothing be wasted. Those are wonderful learning opportunities that should never go to waste.