Camping Out

Summer arrives on the 20th of this month. Time for lazy days and outdoor activities, like camping out. I must tell you I don't have a great deal of experience in camping, but what I do have provides some interesting memories. Once in my childhood my older brothers Jay and Jarl obtained some heavy gauge plastic sheeting from a construction site of my father's and concluded that this material would make an excellent tent. After much design and engineering work the tent was ready for a field test. We were all set up on a wooded hilltop on my Uncle Ellis' farm. His family set up a tent next door to ours and after the usual evening around the camp fire we turned in for a restful night in the great outdoors. All did not come off as planned. A thunderstorm paid us a visit and in the midst of leaking tents, thunder, flapping fabric and torrents of rain we did the prudent thing and abandoned ship! We rode my Uncle's truck back to his house to finish our "camp-out" in the great in-doors.

Another time, when I was in my teens, Jarl and I and his friend Ken camped out in a tent in November. For the life of me I can't fathom why we would camp out in November, but camp-out we did. I can vividly remember the sounds of the night, the roaring camp fire and the sky being so full of stars that it was positively scary. We were not visited by rain that night, only sub-freezing temperatures. Ken snoozed away in his regulation-issue Boy Scout, goosedown sleeping bag, while Jarl and I shivered the night away in more conventional blankets. The real shock however, came in the morning when Jarl and I discovered our tennis shoes had been kicked out from under the tent flap and were frozen solid. I guess you could say we went for a walk on the wild side by putting frozen feet in equally frozen shoes!

Well, anyway, one point stands out -- a tent is a rather temporary abode. While it might be nice (?) to spend a night or two under the canvas, I much prefer a more substantial structure over my head for most nights. A tent can be taken down, folded up, transported over hill and dale, and propped up at the next location. The world's most famous tent-maker, (see Acts 18:1-3) the apostle Paul, uses the imagery of a tent to describe the temporary nature of our existence on this earth. In the first few verses of Second Corinthians 5 he reminds us that the day will come when our earthly tent will be taken down and we will depart to a permanent dwelling place with God. So which place is the more significant; our "camping out" in this world or the eternal home in heaven? Since our days on this earth are brief and passing, we should first of all be prepared for the life which is to come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Those of us who enjoy this relationship with God's Son should then seek to remember the lesson of our brief stay at this campsite. We should live in accordance with His purposes for us; His eternal purposes. In essence, live for Him and not for ourselves. Only in this ordering of life is there lasting success and lasting satisfaction. The best way to keep focused on living a life framed by God's purposes, is to remember that we are only held to this earth by tenuous ropes and pegs and that the tent will be struck sooner than any of us think.

Jesse Waggoner
Pastor of Adult Ministries

©2000 Bible Center Church

Back To Main Page / Archive of Previous Articles