Monday, October 19, 2015

Getting Our Hands Dirty - Guest Blogger - Captain Scott Strissel

“While we have been standing UPON OUR DIGNITY- WHOLE GENERATIONS HAVE GONE TO HELL- if the Bible is true, how much longer shall we stand there” - Catherine Booth

Dear Salvationists,
Our hearts need to be broken once more for those we serve and love.   It can be easy to become jaded by this work.  It is dirty work.  It is hard work. 

Service and love should always walk side by side.  We don’t simply hand a homeless man a cup of warm soup because it is “our responsibility and obligation”, no, instead we do it because we care for that man.  It is not just a duty to perform and then we are on our way, it MUST go deeper!  God’s prevenient grace came to us even when we did not deserve such a gift.  He came to our level and poured out upon us such a lavishing love – His One and only Son Jesus Christ.  This is why we serve.  This is why we put on our uniforms and go out into the streets of our communities. 

Secondly, we serve a Mighty God for the purpose of bringing others to Him!  The Salvation Army Mission Statement says this:  “
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Never discount the work of the Holy Spirit in this vital salvation mission!  He can and will transform the worst of sinners.  He will change lives!  What He requires from us is to get our hands dirty.  He longs to have “dirty Salvationists.” 

What do I mean by “Dirty Salvationists” you ask?  What I mean is that we have to go to the places where the lost are located.  We were once lost until we came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Since we accepted that saving, we should be willing to go to those places where the lost and dying are still chained to their sin!  It might not look like a church, where are must go and reach those who are hurting, but the places that Jesus went didn’t look like a church either! 

Didn’t someone, long ago seek YOU out?  Did they not take the time to come to your level, to roll up their sleeves and get dirty so that we might be cleaned?  I recall countless of godly examples of Salvationists who embodied Christ to me while I was still ignorant in my old ways of living.  Their kindness and love showed me what it meant to be like Christ.
With that being said, we cannot be afraid of those “dirty” places.  Those places where the “unclean” or unsaved reside.   We cannot cower within our corps buildings and expect people to come to us.  We have to get our hands dirty by accepting this important work that the Master calls us to.   This work first begins within our hearts.  Are we prepared to say to Christ, “Use all there is of me for Thy purpose”?   This statement can be deeply impactful on our lives.  It places God’s priority over ours.  It clears the various barriers of “self” away so that we might be Holy and then do Holiness in our lives. 

Catherine Booth once said these very profound and I believe prophetic words,
It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day that it provokes so little opposition. If there were no other evidence of it being wrong, I could tell from just that. When the Church and the world can jog comfortably along together, you can be sure there is something wrong”.

Today, it is very easy for the Church to simply ignore sin and its effects on people.  I don’t wish to meddle or prod here, but the easy road is often taken because we don’t want to point out immorality in our world for fear of criticism and loss of popularity.  The sad thing is that many within the Church are more afraid of what the world will say rather than what God will ultimately say. 

Salvationists, if we aren’t willing to get our hands dirty…if we aren’t willing to stand up for those without a voice in our communities…if we aren’t willing to be sent out by God anymore because we are fearful of critics and hatred, then we have truly lost what it means to be a Salvationist. 

So let us roll up our sleeves.  Let us become dirty Salvationists who are willing to get on our knees in prayer for the drunk who loiters on “Army property”.  Let us throw off the fears of public condemnation and worries of how it may be perceived – and live out our calling within this Mission as Salvationists and as Christ-followers!   Jesus went to people where they were…shouldn’t we as well?


Find more from Captain Scott Strissel at Pastor's Ponderings

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