At camp, each night there’s a fun game up on stage in which campers are chosen to participate in front of the whole 400+ people at camp. Last Monday night one of the campers, who was having a great time at camp but who doesn’t like loud noises and is a bit socially awkward, was chosen to come up on stage. He bravely walked up there, with his leader close behind him. The game on this particular evening involved the camper laying down on a scooter while holding a laundry basket. Meanwhile his leader was to push and pull him while he used the laundry basket to scoop small, colorful balls from the middle of the stage into their corner. The team that gathers the most balls wins.
Gradually teams were eliminated until it was just our friend and his leader and one other team. They battled and the other team was really good at this game; they were scooping up lots of the little colorful balls and their pile was overflowing. Our team was hanging in there, but their pile was substantially smaller when the music stopped and it was time to announce the winner.
However, then it happened, our team was announced and congratulated as the winners! The other team looked confused but graciously stepped off the stage, and the whole room cheered for our team. I looked around in wonder - here was a group of people who are really nice and who really desired to do the right thing, and yet they missed it. While it had been a brave act for our friend to walk up on stage and play the game in front of his peers, and we could celebrate this with him, he didn’t really win the game…..
The next night when it was game time, again one of our campers was chosen to participate. However, this evening was different. This evening the Game Show hosts were featuring someone from the audience with a special skill. They had heard of Sam’s skill and so they invited him to answer some questions in order to highlight his skill. Sam can name the exact release date of every animated movie that has been made since 2002 and can list the trailers previewed in the theatre before the movie is shown. So this night, after Sam named the dates and trailers for several popular movies, he received applause from the audience for his amazing memory. People were in awe of his skill. We were all amazed at the way God has made his brain work. This night we were not just allowing a person with a disability to win a game out of pity or because we didn’t know what else to do, but because he had a skill and an ability that we all enjoyed and could celebrate.
God has made each of us with gifts and abilities and skills that we are to identify, grow, and use for God’s glory. (I Corin. 12) Together, let’s celebrate those gifts with accurate opportunities to shine!