I like to camp.
When the children were young, camping allowed our family to travel to a variety of places on a limited budget. Plus, kids really like being able to fool around in the woods with sticks, stones, leaves, and whatever else they can find. Boring and camping just don’t go together in our experience.
And we were not the sort of campers who had to bring along everything from home. We didn’t bring bikes, television, or toys. We did bring books, board games, and marshmallow sticks but other than things like that, entertainment was as wide as our children’s imaginations.
Over the years, we probably tented the most, although we did have a nice little pop-up camper for about seven years. It was pretty basic as campers go with very few comforts of home. But it was more comfortable than a tent.
A few years back, having camped in a tent for about six more years, I decided I had done enough sleeping on the ground. I also thought that, unlike our old pop-up, I would like a bathroom on site. Midnight walks to the bathroom can be scary. So I bought a new little trailer.
And it has some bells and whistles. It has a fridge with a freezer, a small bathroom, an oven, and even a microwave (although we so rarely have electricity where we camp that the microwave is more of an extra cupboard than an appliance). It is really nice.
I love camping because I love waking up in beautiful places and going to sleep with the sounds of the woods all around me. But I also like camping because it reminds me of what is necessary in life.
In this modern world, it is so easy for me to think that I really need this or that new thing. Maybe it’s a new phone, or an iPad, or a pair of shoes, or a new countertop. But when I camp, I realize how little I really do need. In fact, back in our tenting days, I realized that I could get by with the barest of necessities. Even my new little trailer, although much less work than tenting, still has very few of the things that people at home would think they could never live without.
And that is the best reason for me to camp. It reminds me that when I pray for ‘daily bread,’ it is a prayer for necessities. My mind tends to have a list of banquet-like “needs,” but Jesus’ own prayer helps me remember that not only should I be sharing the abundance that God has entrusted to my care, but that my ultimate need is not for more stuff, but for more bread from heaven. Jesus said “I am the bread of life.” That is what I most need. And having little, even if only a few times per year, keeps my true need in focus.