Since getting saved in 2012, I’ve watched my “camp” diminish significantly. That’s not meant to sound self-righteous. It’s simply that God has required me to separate from certain relationships that don’t support my new life in Christ. While my heart has struggled with many of these separations, I can’t deny the benefit to my spiritual health.
This was the first year my family did not receive an invitation to someone’s home for Thanksgiving dinner. While we certainly do have friends, family, and even church family that we gather with, we enjoyed Thanksgiving with just our own family at home this year with no other guests. As I looked around the table and saw only the five of us, I knew God had great purpose in the intimacy.
A Diminished Camp
I reflect on Gideon and how God set up a mighty victory by greatly diminishing the size of his camp. There’s no question in my mind that the greatest victory is directly related to our most important ministry. My boys need to be raised in a God-fearing home. My marriage needs to be raised in the image of Christ and His bride. There is no camp that deserves my focus more because there’s so much as stake.
Even with the good intent to visit with many others, especially around the holidays, I don’t want to lose sight of my priorities. Executing the Great Commission is as important in my living room with my family as it is with the stranger who I meet at the store or with the newcomer in church. Just because my kids know Jesus’s name doesn’t mean that they’ve seen His character lived out. As author Joey Cook explains in his book DiscipleTrip, our greatest mission is typically the one that happens before we leave our driveway. It’s here that we find the greatest challenges and undoubtedly the greatest returns. For Jesus, the mission was clear: seek to spread the Good News to multitudes, but also be certain to feed the sheep He places right in front of you.
A Time for Simplicity
While I’m not supporting isolation or abandoning fellowship, I’m grateful for the small but mighty camp that currently surrounds me. There is a time and a place for intimacy, small numbers, and what seems like diminished camps. It won’t always be like this, but I sure am enjoying the simplicity for now. And in this hectic, fast-paced life, I can think of few benefits as rewarding and with as great of a return as simplicity.