Humble Submission - Kobie Abram
I’ve spent the last three summers working at Sky Ranch, which if you know anything about me, is a shock. I’m not the stereotypical “camp person” (whatever I’m convincing myself that actually means). My free time doesn’t consist of me yearning to be outdoors, I don’t thrive in lake water, simply the thought of summer heat makes me want to cry, and I am genuinely praying through my disdain for a particular part of God’s creation—the mosquito. So how have I found myself inside the gates of Sky Ranch for three summers? Well, the answer can’t be found in anything except for God’s goodness.
My plan for summers at this point in my life never consisted of giving my time to a camping ministry. But that’s just it, my plans weren’t for camp, but God’s plans were for Sky Ranch to be a major part of my life. Through the initial recommendation of a friend, I have found myself back at Sky Ranch again and again. Every summer could be characterized by a lesson learned, but this is not the time for a three-year-long dissertation on how God has chosen to refine me. Instead, let’s talk about why you and I are both sitting here staring at these words. The Fellowship.
I am a current member of the 16th class of Fellows here at Sky Ranch. Typing those words still gives me chills. To make a long story short, I had heard, throughout my three summers at Sky, about the Fellowship program, but I can confidently say that I had not even the slightest interest in setting out for a year at camp. I heard the personal struggles of friends in the program over and over again, so I dug my heels in and vowed that I wouldn’t ever be a Fellow. Well, I guess the joke was on me.
After spending five-and-a-half months here in the program, I am overwhelmed with the goodness of God. I marvel at the kindness of God, particularly in the way that He convicts us of our sin and reveals to us what ways He demands our submission. I have learned many lessons since being here, but one stands out above the many—a mature believer is characterized by service marked with humility and joy. My heart prior to the Fellowship was quick to say “no” to God, simply on the basis of His plan not matching mine. And that led to me serving others with the expectation of praise and the glorification of myself. But God had something set out for me this year.
Our job as Fellows is not in the foreground. We aren’t on stages proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to hundreds of adults and kids every weekend. We aren’t sitting in on small groups that take place when a church youth group is in attendance. We don’t get shoutouts from guests every time we serve them with a warm smile and gentle tone. Instead, we sweep the floors of our dining hall when a school of two hundred fifth graders escapes quickly out the doors to activities, leaving behind sticky tables and half-eaten pizza under their seats. We grab leaf blowers and walk the leaf-covered paths of camp to be extra hands for our grounds crew. We drive around camp to every trash can and pull out bags of days-old trash, multiple times a week. We spend hours hooking people into and taking them off of elements at activities so that they can make memories with family and friends. We set the scene for God to do His work. But simply completing tasks is not what God’s purpose is in having us do our job. His purpose extends into the crevices of our heart that desire to complain, become frustrated and seek our glory, and He transforms our hearts to be full of joy, gratitude, and humility. I have watched as God has softened my heart to His call, and grown a spirit of joy and humility through my service here at Sky. And the beautiful thing about this is that I’m not alone. I can rest in knowing that the Spirit of God is guiding and teaching me every moment. But I haven’t embarked on the Fellowship journey alone. God has demonstrated His kindness in providing a community of godly men and women to encourage and be encouraged by. The design of the Fellowship is unique, unlike any other program I have seen, but I can say with confidence that the sanctifying work God has continued in me and many others is not limited to the gates of Sky Ranch or even this year, but because I have said “yes” to God’s plans for me, I am able to marvel at God’s goodness with my 11 closest pals. And oh, what a joy it is to be a Fellow.