Last night at Camp Meeting, we had the pleasure of hearing from a legendary speaker, Reverend Ron Smith. Personally, I was looking forward to last night’s service because I’ve never actually ever heard Ron Smith preach before. I knew he was sort of a camp legend, and let me tell you, he did not disappoint.
He began speaking last night about the world we live in today: a corrupted world no longer following Jesus, one that is striving towards the bigger, the better, the newer, overlooking the past.
Then, Reverend Smith made a profound statement. What if the well being of the world depended on the well being of the Church, and therefore on the well-being of your soul? He went on to remark that all too often we think that our faith becomes weakened by the corruption, injustice, and sin of the world, when in reality, it is our own lack of faith in a God that can do the impossible. And when you let your faith be shaken by the sinful world we are in, you are forgetting the privilege of Christianity that is Jesus Christ.. In quitting believing, we are handing our Christian birthright over the struggles of the world.
Rev. Smith went on to say that something that seems to happen in the present, is that it is possible to depart from the glory of the past. And in this 50 year celebration of Delanco Camp at Lake Agape, we are looking back at the past 5 decades of ministry. However, it is important to remember that the God of the ages is fresh, He is moving, He is present, past, and future. He is everlasting. He is the same God that created the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. He is the same God that brought the Israelite’s out of Egypt under Moses. He is the same God who sent His only Son to die on the cross for sins. He is the God that brought the directors to Tabernacle 50 years ago. He is the God that is with us today. And of course, He is the God that will be with us the next 50 years and beyond.
One story that Reverend Smith spoke about was from author Louis L’Amour, who often wrote about the wild west. In one of his books, he wrote about the true story of the Native Americans out in the Midwest. In areas of great drought and unfamiliarity, the Native Americans only survived by one thing: they followed the animals and the ancient paths to find water and food, and ultimately, survive their journey. Rev. Smith continued the story with a verse from the book of Jeremiah. In the story, the Israelite’s were looking to make themselves like the nations around them. They were striving for the newer, the better, and were neglecting the past, and therefore the will of God. They were conforming to the world, and therefore, their world began to crumble. Jeremiah, a major prophet of God, was sent to direct the Israelite’s. Rev. Smith noted Jeremiah 6:16 as the key verse to his message:
This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.”
Sometimes, newer isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s more important to look to the glory of the past and follow the ancient paths. Without our everlasting, never-changing God, we, as Christians, would be overtaken by the world. And as Rev. Smith opened his message, the well-being of our souls, being right with God, has an influence on the well-being of the world around us. And the best way to seek the ancient paths? As Reverend Smith put it, hit your knees. Hit your knees and pray. Pray to the never-changing God of the past, the present, and the future.