I really wanted to begin Sunday’s message with a story from my own personal experience. But as the sermon began to develop, it felt like I was trying to shove the proverbial square peg into a round hole.
That being said, I think it’s still a story worth sharing because it’s important to hear other examples of people who stood in the gap in people’s lives…
While I remember quite a bit from first experience at Philmont Scout Ranch as a Camper, there is one event that might be the most monumental. Our Scout Troop had become known for sending quality Scouts to Philmont to work on the staff for the Summer. This particular Summer, two of our alumni had joined the ranks of the Philmont Seasonal Staff.
One of the Staffers had come into the backcountry to visit us while we were on our trek. We had taken off our packs and were taking a break. Our diet during the trek had consisted of rehydrated dehydrated food and snacks were usually high-protein, high-carb, prepackaged items like Pemmican Bars, granola bars, and crackers with sqeeze cheese. Suddenly, our Staffer friend brought out a fresh watermelon to share with us.
Now, I’m really not normally a watermelon fan. But the prospect of fresh fruit while on this 10-day hiking adventure was nothing short of heavenly.
Phil Gerhart, whom we affectionately referred to as “Mr. G.” – even though he has a Ph.D. in Engineering (and now serves as Dean of Engineering and Computer Science at University of Evansville) – called out to me and a friend of mine. “Matt! Jarod! Remember this when you’re on staff here.”
At best, that would be four years from then. But Mr. G. saw something in us that very few people might have seen in a couple of high school freshmen. He saw potential. And he wanted to take that potential and help shape us into godly young men.
Mr. G. stood in the gap in my life. He was willing to speak truth into my life and continue to help nurse the leadership potential he saw in me. During my final hike as a Camper at Philmont, Mr. G. pulled me aside and we hiked together for a few miles. He asked me my dreams. He challenged me to go for them. He also challenged me to stand in the gap with future generations.
And five years after the watermelon gift that hot Summer day, I remembered what he said. I was working in one of the backcountry camps and my home Troop hiked in. While we didn’t have watermelon that I could give, I did bake a cake. And I shared it with my home Crew. And I also did exactly what Mr. G. challenged me to do: I remembered a man who stood in the gap in my life.
What about you? Who has stood in the gap in your life?