After a full day of splashing in the crystal clear water and playing beach cricket on the white sandy beaches of Bremer Bay, 40 exhausted teenagers trudged up the mountainous sand dunes to set up camp for the night.
The only set up required was to save a patch of sand with a sleeping bag before joining the others around the campfire for dinner, marsh mellows and stories.
Before leaving our relieved parents behind at the caravan park, each one of us were given a can of food to bring. As the flames flickered in our staring eyes we couldn’t help but notice the huge empty pot on the edge of the circle. Right at that moment, the leaders told us that instead of eating our own food we had to pour out our dinner into the pot!
Before long we realised that dinner consisted of not only of what we brought ourselves, but every kind of canned food you could imagine! After the slop was hot enough it was sloshed onto our plates and hungrily devoured by everyone.
As the stars glistened above us in the clear night sky, an orchestra of flatulent sounds could be heard echoing throughout the dunes well into the night!
That night everyone has something to bring, and we all benefited from everyone else’s offering. In a similar way we each have something to offer whenever we gather together:
‘When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation’ – 1 Corinthians 14:26a (NIV)
Paul is saying that each of us has something to bring. Whether we are on platform or not, God has given each of us something to share with others whenever we meet. This list is in no way exhaustive but demonstrates the truth that whether or not you have a title to your name, you have something to contribute.
But there is one thing we should always remember. No matter how gifted, how spiritual or mature you may or may not be, everything we bring has to be for the good of others:
‘Everything must be done so that the church may be built up’ (14:26b)
As you bring your gift to the camp fire, never forget that it wasn’t given for your own consumption but for the benefit and strengthening of His church!