Make it personal

Army’s self-denial program provides an opportunity to serve through sacrifice.

by Harryette Raihl, Major –

As far back as I can remember The Salvation Army’s self-denial program has been there—part of each Salvationist’s service to God and the world. As a child I remember the excitement of dropping all my coins—from my mom and dad, of course—into those precious coin boxes. Because of my parents’ teaching, I understood that poor children around the world would be helped through my offerings. Little did I know then that the Lord was preparing me for the even larger responsibility of serving in the Western Territory as the Overseas Child Sponsorship Director and World Missions Secretary.

The Salvation Army is now in 120 countries around the world. What an awesome opportunity we have to bring HOPE into a world that is so filled with agony, despair and utter hopelessness.

In 2010, the theme of The Salvation Army self-denial program is to “Make it Personal.” There are numerous Scripture references that suggest—command—believers to go out and share the good news of Jesus Christ and serve suffering humanity.

But how often do we actually take those words personally? Sometimes it is easy to brush off the responsibility with a remark like, “That’s missionary work. That’s what missionaries do.” However, Jesus’ words were for all of his people and our comments do not absolve us from the responsibility of fulfilling them. Not all are called to go to other countries to serve, but all are called to pray and support those who do go.

Because the need for support is a continual reality, self-denial should never be considered a once-a-year event, but rather a daily lifestyle—a lifestyle that incorporates personal sacrifice in care and support of others.

It’s easy to become complacent in our lives and begin to take for granted many of our gifts—and, yes, even complain about what we do not have rather than be thankful for what we do have. There are always others who would consider themselves blessed if they simply had a fraction of what we take for granted each and every day.

During the self-denial campaign this year, look at the inserts in the weekly corps bulletins, which remind us to consider our responsibility in the following areas:

H – hand to man
O – open your heart and life
P – participate through prayer, praise and provision, and
E – engage in active kingdom growth through evangelism.

There are no exceptions to our Lord’s command. The work and mission of the Army can take place either at home or on a foreign field. The Army’s self-denial program affords everyone the opportunity to take the gospel to the entire world!

So remember this year to…Make it Personal!

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