God is the Creator
By CBM National intern, Timmy Martens
I recently had the amazing privilege of working with some teenagers at a retreat hosted by CBM. These teenagers aren’t just your ordinary kids; they are children of CBM’s missionaries, and are stationed all over the country at different camps and areas. Before my intern days, this was the group that I was also classified with: camp “staff kids.”
In the ministry world, staff kids are a one-of-a-kind breed. We know what it’s like to have super high expectations on us, and we have a lot of hands-on experience in everything from serving in the kitchen to keeping the grounds. In my time as an staff kid, I washed more dishes and pulled more weeds than the average teenager. We don’t truly know what it’s like to have a summer vacation; in fact, summertime is the busiest time of the year! But I know that if given the choice, I would have not picked any other life.
One of the greatest things staff kids experience is being able to see God work over and over again in our families’ lives. We don’t just hear stories of His faithfulness; we live the stories. Each and every month, the only reason my parents had money to pay bills was because of God’s specific provision. Over the many years my family has been in full-time ministry, God has NEVER let us down, and I have had a front row seat to watch Him perform miracles before my eyes.
This may seem crazy, but when you see God show up in all of these amazing ways all the time, constantly floored by His grace and love, you have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of getting used to it or even taking it for granted. Remembering to stay aware of God’s goodness really helps when dealing with the burnout that can come from being a staff kid.
Being at CBM’s Teen Retreat reminded me of those times when I, as a staff kid, was feeling burned out, and when ministry wasn’t bringing much joy because I was just going through the motions, doing what I felt was expected of me. I can imagine some of these teens may have been feeling similarly, probably not to the same extent as what I experienced several years back, but I know they’re still tired….because being a staff kid is amazing, but exhausting! That’s why it was so great to kick back with all of them and make a fool of myself at the ice-skating rink, and even to hold onto their stuff while they went on the rollercoasters I don’t ride.
As one of the retreat’s leaders, I got to lead evening devotions for the guys. We talked about God’s Word and the power that it gives all of us. We also spoke some about the upcoming New Year, and I know that all of the guys are going to do amazing things for Jesus in 2016. My prayer for them is that God continues to renew His Spirit in all of their lives. Then we got ready for bed and talked about Minecraft and Star Wars into the wee hours of the morning.
When everyone left the next morning and I said goodbye to some of my best friends, I had some time to reflect before continuing on to the next big assignment of my internship. I decided that I don’t want to live the Christian life out of obligation; I want to live it joyfully, because I love Jesus. I want to wake up and praise Him for the gifts He gives me. God has been doing amazing things in my life during this internship. He’s already provided all of the funds I needed to raise for our August mission trip to Moldova! He’s blessed me with amazing friends and an accountability partner that has encouraged me so much over the past several weeks. He’s also given me incredibly wise mentors to guide me on my journey.
In the end, I need to realize that God is the Creator, and He can continually create in me a new joy, even though I’ve already tasted so much of His faithfulness. I don’t need to serve Him out of obligation. Christ has given me a reason to rejoice in Him, because His mercies are new every morning.