Friday, November 14, 2014

The lesson of Peanut Week

Have you ever felt ignored by someone who owed you a kindness? Were you resentful?  I was, and here's why.

The camp I attended as a boy had an event each summer called Peanut Week. We all received a peanut with someone else's name wrapped around it. We ate the peanut and some of us also ate the paper, to keep the name secret. It was the name of our peanut, the camper we'd do nice things  for all week, anonymously. We were his "shell." Next weekend, one at a time, we'd each reveal our identity to our peanut and give him a homemade friendship stick, usually a slightly decorated twig.

I'm third from right, in dark t-shirt.

I tried to do something nice for my peanut each day. Once I made his bed. Another time I snuck a copy of Hot Rod Magazine under his pillow. He had no clue how it got there. But nothing good happened to me! Not on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. I asked my counselor if I had a shell, and he said "yes, don't worry about it," but I was mad. I could hardly wait for Saturday so I could tell my shell "thanks for nothing!" in front of everybody.

At the end of the week, we all gathered around a big council fire to exchange sticks. One at a time, each camper learned who his shell was. Finally a counselor got up and walked over to me. He was my shell, and he gave me the most elaborate friendship stick anyone had ever seen at camp. It was delicately cut from a birch log, with my name carved into it, and the year, on a surface carved into diamond shapes. Everybody around me admired it, and I was no longer mad.

Peanut Week taught me a lesson that summer. We're all peanuts, and God is our shell. Even if we don't see evidence of God every single day, we can rest assured He hasn't forgotten us, and at the final assembly, He'll give us the best gift anyone ever received -- eternal life.

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