What is it you love the most about Camp Wakonda? Is it the distant sound of children belting out songs of praise? Is it the variety of quality speakers, breaking down important gospel truths in easy-to-understand messages? Is it intimate time around a picnic table, having meaningful chats with old friends? Or perhaps it’s the high moments: ordinations, baptisms, and first-time decisions for Christ. For me it’s all of the above. But honestly, there’s even something about the smell at camp.
Have you ever visited a place that you hadn’t been to in years, and the smell transported you to another time? When my wife, Ally, and I arrived at camp about a month ago, it was the first time I’d been there in a while. The smell of the pines hit me like a wave. Riding around in one of our trusty camp vehicles brought its own familiar scents. Stepping into the Fireside Lodge brought the sweet aroma of wood interior. I told Ally, “I’m twenty-two again!” The smells were bringing me back to when I was a staff member here years ago.
It’s amazing what the senses God has blessed us with can do. But let’s not forget that we are created in His image! Did you know that even God is transported to a state of joy by a pleasing aroma? Throughout scripture, there are examples of God being pleased by the aroma of people doing His will. Check out 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 a: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God…”
So when we follow God, we are actually a sweet aroma to his nostrils. Not only that, we spread that pleasing fragrance wherever we go! So, the same way that we might show up to a place, full of wonderful memories, and become transported by the familiar and comforting smells, we get to be that very sensation to God and to His people when we do God’s will.
I don’t know about you, but this summer, as I experience the sights and smells, the sounds and all of the sensations that come along with being back at camp, I want to strive to keep that wonderful sensory experience going into every facet of how I live my life. My hope is to bring that kind of joy to the God I serve, and to the community around me that desperately needs to know His Good News.
So, my charge to you is this: stay smelly, my friends. Because the world needs it, and God loves the fragrance of a person after His heart.
Zack Payne, Youth Director