“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3). The summer months abound in opportunities to grow through many different venues. Major events at Bethel are VBS, Camp and Gospel Meetings. One may add Friday night singings, various youth and family activities hosted by congregations and individuals and the like. While summer can be a busy time for travel and leisure, sports, and holidays with family and friends, the spiritual lives of people should never be neglected. One must always remember that for the Christian, Christ is our life (cf. Col. 3:4). Look at three areas for growth that hold true with the summer time opportunities.
- Opportunities to Grow in the Faith. Bible schools, Bible camps and the teaching in gospel meetings abound during the summer months. How one spends “free time” or the “holiday time” says much about a person. Paul wrote to the Ephesian brethren about “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). One is never wasting his or her time when being exposed to greater learning of the Bible. David wrote, probably as a young man (cf. Ps. 119: 9), “I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments” (Ps. 119:7). That insatiable desire, like a newborn babe, for the word of God (cf. 1 Peter 2:2) leads to growth unto salvation (cf. 2 Tim. 3:15).
- Opportunities to Grow Closer to the Faithful. VBS, camp and gospel meetings also bring people together of similar spiritual values. It is tough living the life of a Christian facing the world alone. Just as there is negative peer pressure there can be positive peer influences by being with people who want to serve the Lord. It is always easier to do right when around those who also want to do right. One of the signs of a true disciple of Jesus is found in the words of the Lord, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). It is written in the book of Hebrews, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25).
- Opportunities to Grow Further in Reaching Out to Others. VBS, camp and gospel meetings are great opportunities to invite family and friends who are not Christians to be engaged in spiritual things. Anytime people are exposed to great spiritual opportunities it is a help to communities, families and the like. Some of the great memories of some people’s lives go back to gatherings of spiritual backgrounds. Some could possibly trace their first step toward becoming a child of God to the invitation of a friend to go with them to an event centered on spiritual things. Cornelius used his opportunity to reach out to “his kinsmen and near friends” (Acts 10:24) that they all might “hear all things that are commanded thee of God” (Acts 10:33). If a lost man knew the importance of inviting other lost people, how much more should the saved understand? There are many opportunities in the summer that could hinder life where the world entices the soul to engage in sinful activities. Going where seed is planted and watered and nurtured does not hinder life. Jesus knew that (cf. Matt. 4:4).