Is that your final answer?

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by Commissioner David Edwards –


“Who wants to be a millionaire?” the popular game show has become the most watched television game show in America today. It has taken over from “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune.” Millions of people across the country sit glued to their television sets for at least one hour each night of the week waiting to see which of the contestants would make it to the million. The show has made its host Regis Philbin, already quite popular with television audiences, even more popular.

 


“We will demonstrate our unswerving love for God by loving our neighbors … helping the helpless, offering hope to the hopeless, and bringing healing to the hurting in Christ’s name.”

No one is quite sure what it is about this show that has made it so popular. The questions are for the most part trivia. The contestants are actually given a choice of answers so it is possible for them to guess their way to the correct answer. The situation is made even more ridiculous in that the contestants are allowed to seek help. They have three lifelines. It is surprising how few people have made it to the million. As you would have guessed it, I actually watch this show. Can you believe it! The thought of seeing someone make it to a millionaire is quite attractive, I must admit.

Commissioning ­ The attraction
I have just participated in the commissioning for the officers of the Forward 2000 Session. Here in the West we commissioned 28. I wished there were more, given the demands of the field and of the future, but I thank God for each one of those that were commissioned.

Commissioning has never lost its attraction for me. I am always thrilled by the sight of men and women dedicating themselves unreservedly to service of God as officers of the Salvation Army. My wife and I have been fortunate to witness Commissioning events in different parts of the world and the excitement is the same wherever we have seen it. Commissioning seems to affirm for us that this is still God’s Army. God still continues to call men and women to serve as Salvation Army officers. And still there are those willing to respond positively to that call.

Commissioning ­ The excitement
I have never lost that sense of excitement which I experienced for the first time with my own commissioning, 39 years ago this month. I still have fond and vivid memories of that occasion. Part of the excitement was obviously due to the fact that after two years in training, I had had enough. I was raring to go. I was about to begin the life for which I had been preparing ever since I first said “yes” to God’s call.

One of the things I remember of that occasion is delivering the valedictorian address on behalf of my session, The Soldiers of Christ. Ours was a small session–just six of us. There are just three of us left from that session. Two of us are still officers.

I remember speaking about the call to officership and using a couple of cardboard signs that I had made to illustrate the points of my simple ten-minute talk. On one of the signs I had written the statement “Wanted: Salvation Army officers.” You would recognize this as an idea borrowed from the signs I would often see in store windows advertising vacant positions. On the other I wrote the question “What about you?”

The ministry of officership ­ an option to be considered
Not only have I not lost that sense of excitement, but I have also not lost that sense of obligation to make others aware of God’s call to ministry as officers of The Salvation Army. I am fully cognizant of the fact that not all are called to this unique ministry and that this has to be tested. What I do know is that we are obligated to make people aware, especially our young people, that lifetime service as officers of The Salvation Army is an option worth considering. God just might be calling and they just need someone to get their attention.

So, dear readers, I am going to take some license with the title of that popular game show and ask the question somewhat differently “Who wants to be an officer?” Let me suggest that if you do, and if you are not yet an officer, and if you could just be about that age when you ought to be making it to training, I would suggest that you make “Yes, I do” your final answer and give our territorial candidates secretary a call.

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