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Sometimes I like to go camping. Now I am not an outdoorsy guy who likes to rough it. I have an old pop-up camper pulled by an equally old Chevy. Big Dog and I will scope out a place in the North Georgia woods to spend a couple of nights getting re-acquainted with nature. Sometimes there will be electrical connections- a plus factor, and sometimes we will do without. And so, last week, we spent a few days and nights at the Upper Chattahoochee River Campground, about an hour north of Helen, GA. The five miles connecting the blacktop with the actual campground is quite the adventure, consisting of boulders and gullies, so I dared not drive over 5 mph along the way. But we made it and set up camp.

For the first night I was the lone camper. During the darkest of the evening, sounds would echo from the woods, and of course I was convinced bears were visiting. I had a trusty hammer nearby, really the only weapon available, but still did not dare to venture outside. Next morning I found evidence of the culprit- certainly not a bear, and most likely a raccoon or a squirrel. Hey, I never claimed to be brave! The next day campers started pulling in for the weekend. They came in a variety of vehicles with camping facilities contained or attached, and most were modest like me. But one particular couple brought a shiny new trailer complete with lots of bells and whistles- pull out canopy, whisper quiet generator, and fascinating lights that glow at night. I got to wanting one of those! And they brought along two beautiful Dalmatians. These lovely dogs were full of life and joy, frolicking in the yard of the campsite. I looked at old worn-out Big Dog, and he looked at me, and I am pretty sure he knew what I was thinking! Fact is, these people likely had more money than me, so they could buy newer and shinier toys. And wherever you go, whatever you do, those people are always around. Some are modest with display of their possessions and others quite ostentatious. Philippians 4:11 is a good verse for our meditation: “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” God is good to us, and most likely for every one of us we have enough stuff at our disposal to be content. It is simply a matter of choice. No more than I camp, my pop-up is sufficient. And Big Dog makes me happy- I wouldn’t trade him for 101 Dalmatians!

And, same with our church. We seek to reach others for Christ, make a difference in our world, and grow as disciples. Other congregations may have more numbers and bigger buildings, and even more measurable “success”. But let us forget about jealously and even find the heart to celebrate the good that comes their way. We have an individual stewardship to God not connected with them. Let us find peace, contentment, with our place of service to our amazing Lord.

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