I just returned from camp and man I’m wiped! It was a great time though and I even learned a lot. One of the biggest things I learned was not from the teaching of our camp pastor, but from his actions. His name is Eric Bancroft and what stood out to me was the way he connected and served. Being a camp pastor, he’s there to teach. He taught a lot. He did some small teaching to us as leaders at the beginning of the day. He also taught separate middle and high school sessions each morning and a large group session at night.
The impressive thing was that he didn’t stop there even though he could’ve. He did dishes at the camp cafe. He served food and drinks at the shack late at night. He served students with conversations all throughout the day and he served the staff of Crossings. This guy was the embodiment of serving and no job was too small for him. He could’ve just taught because that’s why he was there, but he led by example and I was incredibly impressed.
Sometimes serving feels like it’s beneath us or that because of our position we shouldn’t have to do certain things. However, this is not at all the picture Jesus paints for us or the example He gives us. Jesus sets the tone when He washes His disciples feet. He’s the teacher. He has the highest position of authority. Not only that, He’s the Son of God. We can see by the disciples’ reaction that they felt this should not be so. But He served them. Jesus says in Matthew 20:28, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus set the tone. He led by example. His life was one of service and counting Himself as less than others even though He, more than anyone, had the right to be served.
I believe Pastor Eric had taken Jesus’ example to heart and flowed out of his actions. In serving, he maximized his time at the camp and maximized his impact. I know I wasn’t the only one who noticed either. Many comments were made and His love for Jesus did not just flow from his words, but it was shown in his actions.
I can be guilty of thinking I’m above a certain task or chore and I am convicted that I wasn’t paying attention to the life of Jesus. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says, "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:24). When we hear Jesus say these words, I think our temptation is to think about death or some sort of grandiose sacrifice on Jesus’ behalf. But what if it means doing the job no one wants at the ministry event? Maybe it means picking up trash, washing dishes, or befriending the person that is really hard to be friends with. Maybe it means that you’ve got the really important job, but you still find time to do the small, unlovely job. It really means doing whatever Jesus ask because He tells us in Mark 9:35 that whoever wants to be first must be last and the servant of all.
The way I saw Pastor Eric serve at Crossings camp was attractive. He had bought into a message that I’m not sure I had quite bought into yet. His example is one I want to imitate and ultimately to take Jesus at His words. If we love Christ, we should be servants. No job is too big or too small. Just serve.