By Jenna Stacy, 2014 workcamp coordinator
“Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity…” (1 Timothy 4:11).
Our theme scripture for workcamps this summer was 1 Timothy 4:11-16. It highlights five words that help us “teach with our lives,” and each day we focused on one: word, demeanor, love, faith, and integrity. We defined them, read scripture that addressed them, told stories, and used lives from Brethren history and current times to show how others have taught with their lives.
While teaching my workcampers about this scripture and how we can teach with our lives, they taught me a lot too. And while the curriculum stayed the same each week, the kids did not; each one brought something priceless and unique to worship.
One recurring lesson that stuck out to me all summer was with the theme of love. We included a list of definitions of love in the leadership resources, all from four- to eight-year-olds. Here are a few of their answers:
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
—Billy, age 4
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”—Chrissy, age 6
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”—Jessica, age 8
All of these definitions of love are so pure, but the one that stood out to me was from four-year-old Terri, “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
You may know that a workcamp summer is an exhausting one—traveling from place to place each week, living out of a suitcase, learning new names and addressing new needs of children. There was one week in particular when I was insanely tired, but I kept going because of love—love for workcamps, love for the kids and the excitement in their eyes, love for teaching with my life, love for God, and God’s love for me. Love is what kept me going this summer, and kept me smiling, even when I was tired.
I pray that you feel God’s love when you are tired and that his love will continue to make you smile so that you can continue on your journeys and teach with your lives.