Tomorrow morning, a train of cars filled with suitcases, bins, and a lot of other stuff will be stretched out along the highways back to Minnesota. Our summer is quickly coming to a close. Looking back to the beginning of the summer, no one would have guessed nine weeks could go by so fast, or be so jam packed. Looking back on who people were at the beginning of the summer is fascinating... because no one is leaving the same person they were. As STP winds down, it’s natural to ask: was this summer worth it?

Count it as loss

Our theme verses this summer have been Philippians 3:7-8:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

We had to count a lot of things loss this summer: time with family, internships, having a relaxed schedule, getting tan, hanging out with people you’re comfortable with, not being spiritually challenged…the list goes on, but you get the idea.

Thing is, after studying the book of Philippians this summer, compared to Paul’s suffering and the suffering of Christians around the globe for the sake of Christ, what we had to give up to come down to STP looks like nothing. And when we compare it to Christ’s agony on the cross, we have to stop and wonder why we’re even complaining.

To know Him more

So have we come to see the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus? I think the answer for each student here would be a little different. Some of us have gained an incredible amount of knowledge, some have taken away a few nuggets of truth, and others feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that has come their way this summer. Wherever each of us is at, there is a guarantee that our continued exposure to the Gospel will not go without effect.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

The Word of God is powerful. Numerous verses in scripture speak to that. The purpose for which God sends it into each of our lives is different, and it has had different effects this summer, for sure, but no one is leaving the same as they came. It has been so encouraging to talk to students these last nine weeks and to hear how, slowly but surely, Christ is transforming their lives to be more and more in the image of His.

Seeing how this summer has uniquely challenged people where they were at and how God has broken down barriers, brought up sin, and brought healing gives me confidence to say this STP was absolutely worth every penny, every ounce of energy, every struggle. It has taught us how to seek Christ as the source of our life, making Him the #1 thing.

“But this is eternal life, that they may know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

Knowing Christ more has made this summer worth it, and it will continue to make pursuing Him worth it for the rest of our lives.

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