Go ahead, leave comments below and tell me how offended you are at this question.
The truth is, I kind of hope we are all offended by this in some way.
If we aren’t offended…
If we aren’t in some way incensed…
if we aren’t in some way spurned into action…
then I fear the pondering posed today is in fact true of us.
Sloth is more than just laziness.
As a Christ follower, sloth takes on a deeper connotation to mean one who is spiritually or emotionally apathetic.
One who is physically, spiritually and/or emotionally inactive.
Obviously this isn’t indicative of The Salvation Army I know and serve within…
yet, are there moments?
are there those within its ranks?
are there corps and soldiers in need of this kind of wake up call?
could it be me?
I Am A Runner.
I don’t say that to indicate that I am a good runner.
I don’t say this to sound prideful or boastful.
I run because I have hereditary heart issues in my family and I want to stave off those problems in my life later on.
I find running tedious if I am honest.
I grudgingly put on my running shoes in the morning and my aim is to complete my required three miles.
Some days I languish under the strain of those three miles.
Other days it seems to go by rather quickly and it feels good!
Then there are those days, even multiple days when I don’t run.
I sometimes make up excuses as to why I am not able to run on a particular day.
Momentarily it is a relief.
It seems the burden is lifted…but soon enough I feel a little guilty.
I know I should be completing my run.
I know when I have missed the mark on these personal commitments to my health and well-being.
When I miss a number of days and then put on my running shoes once more, I find that I have lost a step or two.
I also find that my endurance is not as it should be and in a small way, I have lost a little bit of muscle mass.
I have become inactive in just a few days, and I need to get back to it.
in the very same way a runner who takes a break finds it harder to run again, are we soldiers as fit as we should be on the front lines of this mission? I don’t wish to offend you today, but perhaps to spur us all onward. Have we lost a step or two? Have we grown tired or weary and left the fight? Are we sidelined by internal battles within our corps? Are we inactive all together?
As soldiers sometimes we have seen it all.
We have heard all of the stories people tell us in order to get help from us.
We have been “around the block a time or two”.
Have we become calloused?
Too thick skinned that we no longer feel anymore?
Has sloth entered our lives because we have “settled” into our comfy seats in the corps buildings and we have stopped reaching out anymore because we expect “them” to come to us?
Apathy is the gasping breath of dying Army…and I am sure none of us want to be a part of dying Army!
If we stop caring about the souls of people…
If we stop fighting for the worthy cause of Christ…
If we stop caring about each other in order to better ourselves…
We will, in fact, be the cause of the final death throws of William Booth’s vision.
So, if I have offended you in this pondering today…good.
This is a reconciliation call to myself…and to you.
This is a wake up call to everyone who serves within this army.
We cannot and will not be an ever forward moving army if we do not first commit everything and every resource we possess (and do not possess) to the Lord.
If you are already “running”, if you are already actively engaged then I applaud you!
This isn’t a guilt session, and we need YOU to lead the way!
Let’s lace up our shoes…
Strap on our boots…
get out of the pews…
Pray for a softening of our hearts…
and flee anything that would cause us to fall into the trappings of sloth.
1) The Saviour of men came to seek and to save
The souls who were lost to the good;
His Spirit was moved for the world which he loved
With the boundless compassion of God.
And still there are fields where the laborers are few,
And still there are souls without bread,
And still eyes that weep where the darkness is deep,
And still straying sheep to be led.
Except I am moved with compassion,
How dwelleth thy Spirit in me?
In word and in deed
Burning love is my need;
I know I can find this in thee.
2) O is not the Christ ‘midst the crowd of today
Whose questioning cries do not cease?
And will he not show to the hearts that would know
The things that belong to their peace?
But how shall they hear if the preacher forbear
Or lack in compassionate zeal?
Or how shall hearts move with the Master’s own love,
Without his anointing and seal?
3) It is not with might to establish the right,
Nor yet with the wise to give rest;
The mind cannot show what the heart longs to know
Nor comfort a people distressed.
O Saviour of men, touch my spirit again,
And grant that thy servant may be
Intense every day, as I labor and pray,
Both instant and constant for thee.
(Except I Am Moved With Compassion, Albert Orsborn)
Something more for our Army world to ponder today!