Scenic view of trees at camp

When You Don’t See the Fruit

by Kathryn Shoaf

Campers talking at the Shores

If you’ve worked at Pine Cove this summer, you are likely heading back to college soon. For the past several weeks and months, you jumped as high as twelve phonebooks. You clapped to countless Birthday Raps. You strove to win Pit-n-Palace on a daily basis, and you mastered a dance to every song on the Pine Cove playlist. But soon your luggage will be in the trunk of your car and it will be time to head back to the “real world” that exists beyond the Pine Cove gates.

Perhaps when you look back at your summer as a counselor, you’ll be able to see the obvious fruit of your work. On the other hand, you may think that although you poured yourself into the lives of your campers, no one was “changed.” There were no salvations or re-dedications. If you fall into this category, you may feel a little disappointed.

Earlier this summer, I interviewed several first-half counselors hoping to hear stories of how God worked through Pine Cove to transform lives. I expected to hear all of the normal answers—campers received Christ as their Savior, counselors experienced the beauty of the biblical community, and parents received a well-deserved rest. While stories like these were indeed shared, there was also a counselor from the Shores, Brittany “Lil’ Rat on the Track” Ratliff, whose memories from the summer were a little different.

Campers sitting on a bench

As we talked, she admitted, “A struggle that I constantly faced was that the salvation of my campers wasn’t in my hands. I think that, as humans, we want to see the fruit of our labor, but we aren’t promised to see it. All that I can do is tell them about Jesus and do my best to love them. At the end of the day when they don’t accept Christ… that’s not in my hands.”

I want to encourage you with these words that Paul wrote in I Corinthians 3:6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

We have put countless hours into serving our campers and pouring into them spiritually. Naturally, we desire to see the results of our work. Yet we may never reap the fruit of our labor. Do not assume that God quits working in the lives of campers when they leave camp on Saturday. God’s reach extends beyond time spent at Pine Cove. You may have planted the seeds that will be watered by other Christians in the next few weeks. In the end, God alone can bring spiritual results.

As you leave camp this summer, do not stop praying for the campers, staff, and families that you met. Although you could only interact with them for a short time, God has the power to work on them eternally.

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
1 Corinthians 3:6

Posted Jul 18, 2017

Kathryn Shoaf

Summer Media Intern

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