Dear Salvation Army Officer: I Need Rest!

With six more days (if it’s still Monday when you read this) until the craziness of the Christmas season screeches to a halt, the life of an officer never seems to end.  There are still kettle goals to be met, Christmas distributions to clean up after, and countless logistical issues to oversee.

Officers don’t of course do this alone, teams of wonderful employees and volunteers help (we really couldn’t do this without you!!) I don’t wish to ever minimize anyone’s efforts during this time of Christmas – everyone works so hard.

batteryAs an officer I know how often I have climbed into bed bone tired and sore with many things yet to accomplish and left for the following day.  It is exhausting work and I pray we never miss the point of it all. I pray that we never forget the real reason that we celebrate Christmas – because all of this busyness can certainly consume the Christ-mas if we allow it to.  Have we begun to dread this holiday, this advent season?  Have we become workaholics and have we placed this about our worship of the Almighty?  Most likely not, but there is certainly the danger here.  We want to succeed in our goals, we want to work hard and accomplish much…but is God present in all of these goals and in our striving for success?

tiredA song recently pulled me up short, and caught my attention.
The refrain that struck a chord in my heart was this:

 

I need rest, I need rest
Lost inside a forest of a million trees
Trying to find my way back to me
I need rest”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w60V7lLY2bs

These lyrics are from a song by Jason Gray entitled “Rest (the song of the innkeeper)”
It describes the busyness of life, getting caught up and seeking the rest amidst all of the chaos .

Dear Officer – You need rest…do you find it?  Are you seeking it?
Has the work become your god?
Do you dread Christmas and everything it brings?
How can we avoid the dread and the misaligned religion of work instead of relationship with God?

I pray you find it even as you finish this Kettle season, or hectic social service season!
I pray that as December 25th arrives you can embrace the birth of Christ once more with fresh abandon and awe.  Merry Christmas to you all!

God bless you!

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3 Comments

  1. Thank God, in the UK we do not have commercial massive Kettle targets to reach during the Advent season! We are of course very busy in various ways, as we are throughout the year, to maintain and expand on the Christian ministry already being carried out in the name of Christ.

    I believe the key is smart working in team formation and not as lone rangers. This includes delegating real responsibilities with people becoming accountable to each others, and then let them get on with it without interfering in any shape or form. The officer is not always required to be the up front, visible key worker and it is ok to take a rest whilst others are working ( I do not do guilt very easily!) We often are working whilst others are resting!;)

    One way of developing this is through longer term appointments of over 5 years for example. This time is essential to build up solid relationships based on trust and capability with each other. The downfall is usually short term-ism and no clear longer term vision. The SA has been notorious for that as it has always sought to control any outcome! Hence our busyness leads to tiredness and, far worse, fatigue.

    Take the afternoon off during this busy season, go for a good walk, visit the cinema, go to the sports club, do some retail therapy, enjoy a good meal away from SA premises, have a good sleep, relax, rest etc etc

    Wishing you a great Christmas and a healthy 2017

    Rudi Bruinewoud
    Major UKTI

  2. As we move through the Advent season, Melinda and I pray for all our Officer friends ~ specifically for REST.

    Scott, when you asked, “Has the work become your god?,” that was a question that came up all to often for us. Majors Andy and Cheryl ‘taught’ us the love of the ministry of Kettles and Christmas and we loved it and still do. We loved Kettle season ~ even when it wore us out. However, there were the “Has the work become our god?” days!

    When God called us into a different ministry, we had questions. Sometimes, there are still questions. But, we had questions when we were Officers too. I do know that with all those questions, God has given peace and grace. (not always answers) We are still busy during Advent season. We do our best to put rest in there though.

    I would like to extend this thought for those that may need it. Feel free to contact us through Scott, if you need some rest. We live in Florida. We have some guest rooms in our home and we can help in setting you up with some much needed Sabbath time.

    Lastly, again ~ Melinda and I are praying for you. Merry Christmas

  3. Unless you have been through an American Salvation Army Christmas as a corps officer, it’s really difficult to understand. There is no afternoon off until after Christmas. But so many people are reached during this time, and so many people are blessed. I’m retired after a THQ appointment, and I am helping as much as I can, and there are other retired officers here doing the same. There are also many volunteers working har. I have been so impressed with donors who have been so generous with Angel Tree gifts, those who just dropped off gifts of clothing or toys, and, of course, money. In our area, Hurricane Matthew hurt many people who are depletion us to help them provide for their children for Christmas this year. When I was buying toys and clothing for a young boy this year, I was buying those presents for Jesus. They were given in His name. Yes, it’s exhausting. But what a tremendous service we are doing on His name, for His sake, out of love for Him.

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