Fueled by our history and heritage, I expect one would find a prominent ACTIVITY gene in the DNA of the average Salvationist. We are often prone to act with passion and work with perseverance until we meet a need, lift a soul and finish the job – whatever task it might be. Even our branding begins with a verb: “DOING the Most Good!”
This is how William Booth described us: “We are a salvation people – this is our specialty – getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved.” In part, our marching orders come directly from Christ in Mark 16:15, “And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'”
So, it was surprising to come across a quote by evangelist A.W. Tozer, who said, “The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false.”
This statement not only caught my attention, but it activated an argument within. Why wouldn’t we be expected “to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life”?
I was reassured of Tozer’s point, however, when I kept reading his entire quote:
“The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy of spreading it. Our Lord said, ‘Go ye,’ but He also said, ‘Tarry ye,’ and the tarrying had to come before the going.
Had the disciples gone forth as missionaries before the day of Pentecost, it would have been an overwhelming spiritual disaster, for they could have done no more than make converts after their likeness. This would have altered for the worse the whole history of the Western world and had consequences throughout the ages to come.” A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men
We must always put first things first. In other words, before we set about “DOING the Most Good,” should we not first focus on “BEING the Most Good”? We may be ready to act, but in whose Name do we minister, from what Power do we draw and for whose Glory do we serve?
Let’s take a moment to doublecheck our stance before we head out to do the most good…
What do I see from my PERSPECTIVE?
In Mark 8:22-25 (NKJV), we find a noteworthy miracle of Jesus:
“Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, ‘I see men like trees, walking.’ Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.”
When we look at our neighbors, co-workers, friends and even a world that has not encountered Christ, do we merely see them as a multitude of “walking trees” – never sharpening our vision to see them as God sees each of us? Perhaps we need to receive His second touch from taking us beyond our blindness to seeing everyone clearly – through hearts that are broken over sin and spirits that are determined to reach them for Christ. He is ready to touch you again, right now.
Where do I find my POWER?
It is reassuring to know that sharing our witness and introducing others to the truth of Christ doesn’t depend on our own determination, cleverness or motivation.
We go out IN HIS NAME:
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21-22 (NKJV)
We witness THROUGH HIS AUTHORITY:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” Matthew 28:18-19a (NKJV)
And, we are ASSURED OF HIS POWER:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NLT2)
Who is designing the PLAN?
You may be an essential part of your corps’ BATTLE PLAN, where strategic planning will help advance The Salvation Army’s mission in your local setting. This is a tool to help ensure that our activity is achieving results that will make a difference in our corps and community.
Marc Minter, a Christian leader from rural Texas, describes how God’s plan works out through our community of faith:
“Today, I understand the local church to be the apple of God’s eye and the lifeblood of God’s evangelistic activity in the world. The local church is the people by whom the gospel is upheld (1 Tim. 3:15), the people among whom the gospel is made visible (Col. 3:11), and the people through whom Christ is present in the world (Matt. 18:20).
“When the local church is healthy and vibrant, it is a testimony of God’s grace, a picture of Christ’s transformative work, and a mechanism by which sinners may encounter the real power of God’s Spirit.
The evangelistic role of the church is crucial in the world because any evangelistic efforts detached from the local church will only provide an incomplete gospel at best. Furthermore, it seems to me that many Christians have resorted to just such an incomplete gospel.”
Only God knows the full agenda for today. However, we can be assured that it will be filled with plenty of opportunities to “DO” something. Before we send another email, answer another phone call or encounter another person, take a moment to get ready. Tap into His Spirit to see others through His perspective, to be energized with His power, to be equipped for His purpose.
“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:13 (MSG)