Today’s article, by Sister Charity Lombardo, is the last installment of the GMBA Camp In series. Be sure to check the calendar below for today’s closing event.
If I filled a backpack with my heaviest burdens, would you carry it around for me?
For a friend?
Or a family member?
How about a stranger?
This was the theme of the GMBA seminar class where I gave my life to the Lord.
I was 13 and knew nothing about most things. But after this class, one thing I knew for sure: I did NOT want to do life alone.
For me to tell you this story, we have to travel back in time 15 years.
Okay, so here we are in Flagstaff, Arizona, at GMBA Campout 2005. It’s blistering hot everywhere, I’m most likely complaining about it, and we’re about to get our Jesus on. But honestly? I’m 13 and all I care about are things like: seeing the friends I talked to all year on AOL Instant Messenger, who’s gonna beat who in volleyball, and maybe scoping out a few new camp crushes. (Oh come on, you had them too.)
Everything is dandy. My little self is skipping along through the happenings of the week. And then BAM, the Spirit hits me and things. get. real.
Enter: seminars. Our teachers are Bro. Doug Obradovich and Bro. Timothy Mott, and one day they do a thing. They take us all outside to pick out rocks — a very strange activity until they spark this discussion back in the room:
“What holds you down?”
“What KEEPS you down?”
“What do you do when life gets heavy?”
They tell us to think of a burden we’re carrying right now, write it down on our rock with our name, and place it in the center of the room.
Next, they grab a backpack and start filling it up with our rocks. All of them together as one giant weight. When the backpack is filled to the brim, they call on a few to try it on. As we see our peers struggling to even lift it up, the Brothers connect the dots:
This is what Jesus does for us.
He doesn’t just carry my one worry or yours. He takes all of my worries and all of your worries and carries them on his shoulders. Gladly.
But the lesson doesn’t stop there. After we see how difficult it is to bear this backpack alone, three people are called up and asked to lift it together. And voila! It’s possible.
The last thing we’re told to do is pick out someone else’s rock. This is the person we’d be praying for from here on out. An effort to share the weight.
By this time, my young heart has been changed. The Spirit in that room could not have made it clearer — if I commit to the Lord, I sign up for the love and support of not only God, but all of His wonderful people. If not, I’m on my own.
This might’ve been where it all began for me, but I still try to practice what I accepted that day (especially in these weird, weird times): my calling is not just about me getting into Heaven. It’s not just about praying for myself, my future, my wants, my needs. Because when I walked into the waters of baptism 15 years ago, I walked into a greater community with a greater purpose than just myself. God promising to carry our burdens was just the beginning of His plan for me — for us. It’s time to carry each other now, too.
Don’t Miss the Final GMBA Camp In Event
Today, Friday, July 10
- 11 a.m. Eastern – GMBA Camp In Recap, presented by the GMBA Officers, airing on the GMBA YouthCast channel.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.