I was a high school counselor for a reason. Give me a group of teenagers, and I’ll take them to work camp any day. Put me in front of a classroom full of wide-eyed, naïve college freshmen. Small groups? Teen moms? Juvenile delinquents? I can handle those populations and would even look forward to it.
Vacation Bible School started today.
Confession: Vacation Bible School (VBS) isn’t my gig.
I grew up the daughter of a DCE (Director of Christian Education), so one would assume I live for the week-long summer event. I’ve been privy to every one of Concordia Publishing House’s camp in a box produced during my lifetime.
But now, as a stay-at-home mom to three children (ages 7, 5, and 2), every single day of my life feels like VBS. You can keep the catchy songs with hand motions, Popsicle-stick crafts with too much glue, and sailboats made from apple slices, pretzels, and cheese. I’d like to pass on wiping your little one’s leaky nose and taking Junior to the bathroom for the third time. And the nametag nightmare—don’t even . . .
But I volunteered to help, begrudgingly, out of a guilty sense of “ought to” and “should.” I moaned and groaned, but said, “Sure, I’d love to help!” with my fingers crossed behind my back and a bad attitude in my back pocket.
(I realize I’m sounding like an Ice Queen.)
But God has been working on my heart the last several weeks, and it started in Mexico.
My husband and I recently returned from an anniversary trip where, admittedly, we were spoiled. We read on the beach, floated on lazy-river pools, sipped from coconuts, dined on delicious food, had the bed turned down and made for us—you get the idea. I am convinced scenery and treatment of this caliber is about as close to paradise this side of heaven.
From the moment we stepped off the plane and onto the resort grounds, we were treated like royalty. We lacked for nothing and the staff was attentive to every little detail. Time and time again, my husband and I commented to one another about the impeccable service we received. But it was more than service, it was an attitude. Every man and woman working had a job. Some cleaned pools, some waited tables; some were housekeepers, others did grounds maintenance; and three guys, dressed all in white, cleaned seaweed from the beach shore all day long. All. Day. Long.
We took notice of how hard everyone was working. Yet what stood out even more was the smile and pleasant attitude they carried while doing their tasks. Many of our “Gracias!” were responded to with a smile and “It’s a pleasure.”
At the pre-VBS meeting, we were asked to “wear our shirts and a smile.”
Even as I type this, I’m getting a strong breeze of the Holy Spirit moving in my heart. Colossians 3:23–24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
As Christ followers, we’re called to respond to others’ needs with a smile and heartfelt “it’s a pleasure!” Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
“Through love serve one another.”
So here’s what I’m realizing. I don’t have to love Vacation Bible School, and it doesn’t make me a bad Christian because it’s not my favorite way to spend a week. What sets me apart will be the attitude I adopt.
So, I will wear that T-shirt, and I will smile, sing, craft, snack, and wipe noses with a servant’s heart for the Lord who has redeemed me and called me His own. The attitude of our heart really can set the course for our actions.