The call to our life in the world
We call Salvationists worldwide to commit themselves and their gifts to the salvation of the world, and to embrace servanthood, expressing it through the joy of self–giving and the discipline of Christ–like living.
We affirm that commitment to Christ requires the offering of our lives in simplicity, submission, and service. Practicing simplicity, we become people whose witness to the world is expressed by the values we live by, as well as by the message we proclaim. This leads to service that is a self–giving for the salvation and healing of a hurting world, as well as for a prophetic witness in the face of social injustice.
“We have only to look at Jesus to see that simplicity and servanthood are at the heart of Christianity.”
—Called to be God’s People, 1999
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,” Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 20:26. And in Philippians 2:5–7, Paul also reminds us that “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
How effectively are we using the gifts God has given us for the salvation of the world?
Members of the International Spiritual Life Commission saw clearly that, if Jesus needed to admonish His followers, and if Paul and James (2:3) also needed to remind the early Church, then the lessons of the servanthood as a spiritual discipline must continually be taught. “It is all too easy for those given authority to fall into the trap of thinking they are more important than others,” writes Commissioner Robert Street in Called to Be God’s People.
The Commission further recommended that, “Salvation Army leadership at every level conform to the biblical model of servant leadership.” Other recommendations included “a re–evaluation of how effectively structures, ranks, and systems encourage and support servant leadership, the spirit of community, and the advancement of the Army’s mission.”
The Commission identified various obstacles to servanthood, often used as excuses where we avoid or neglect opportunities, or dodge expectations with the words, “It’s not my gift.”
Perhaps in emphasizing spiritual gifts, we may also identify areas of servanthood.
To what extent is self–giving and Christ–like living evident in our fellowship?
All it takes are a few moments’ reading of Luke, chapter 10, where Jesus sends out the 72 servants, or tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to see how servanthood can be marginalized.
Major Campbell Roberts once wrote, “A Christian vision is of people together, loving each other, sharing dreams and hopes, and counting on creative support. In Christ, no exclusion is tolerated as the Shepherd draws all into the circle. This is foundational teaching in a world where many people are unanchored, uprooted, and needing a place to land and stand.”
Jesus has demonstrated this call to the Salvationist’s life in the world. By the Holy Spirit, God will affirm its value and will bring unity to His people.
by Chris Stoker