On abdication of responsibility

by Terry Camsey, Major – 

Well…did you make any resolutions this year?

The danger of course, is in overreaching—attempting to do more that is reasonable, even possible. I found myself doing that a few years back; I’d start off with resolutions for each area of my life but, before long, found it very difficult to keep faith with myself.

The big problem, it seemed to me after some serous thinking, was that although my goals were desirable, many fell outside my control completely. It’s easy to do that, isn’t it…to overreach? And failure to reach the goals we set can be very demoralizing.

It’s as true of corps life as of our personal lives. That is why, when talking of the health and growth of a corps (or any other church or denomination, for that matter) we use the term “faith goals.” A faith goal is not one which we totally rely on God to accomplish. He has already told us through his Word that faith without works is useless. He gave us a unique ability to think creatively (since we are made in his image and he is the ultimate creator) but expects us to use and develop the gray matter he has blessed us with.

We are engaged in a great CO-mission…a mission in which both he and we have a part to play. It’s not all up to us, nor all up to him.

Let me ask you a question. Were your New Year’s resolutions to do primarily with yourself or others? Booth was in no doubt as to where his priorities lay…it was in the welfare, spiritual as well as physical, of OTHERS.
I have suggested in this column before that, of all we do in the Army, we should ask, “For whose benefit are we doing this?” It seems to me that more often than not, we do what we do, how and when we do it, for our own benefit, not for the betterment of others.

Try it in your corps council. Examine every program, every activity and ask of each, “For whose benefit are we doing this, this way, at this time?” I dare you.

But, I’ve digressed slightly. In setting faith goals, a corps should first look at what it has achieved in the area under review over the past twelve months. Let us say that one senior soldier has been enrolled. In setting a faith goal we might first ask, “In light of what we were able to accomplish in this area last year, what do we feel we can accomplish this year?” If you were to answer, “100 new soldiers” my sense is that, unless you change dramatically what you have been doing to make soldiers…or unless many more get involved in the process of making soldiers…that is a goal too far! If you said, “I believe that we could double what we did last year and make two soldiers,” I would suggest that, if you seriously feel you could accomplish that in your own strength, then set the goal a little higher so that it forces you to your knees asking God for his help, too.

God works in the realm of what seems to us to be impossibilities. But he won’t do it without our serious input as well. Invariably God helps us to surpass sensible faith goals, which gives courage to trust him and work for even more. But let me come back to my previous question: Were your New Year’s resolutions to do primarily with yourself or others?

Proverbs 13:22 says, A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children… One of our obligations is to leave a legacy to those who follow us in the salvation war. Not just to the next generation but to the one after that! We cannot selfishly have it all the way we want it and are comfortable with. The Army of today is certainly not that of Booth’s day. Change is inevitable! We live today with decisions made by Salvationists before us. Somebody, very recently, talked with despair of the RCs in our midst (No, not Roman Catholics but Resistors of Change!). I was once in a gathering of mid-level Army administrators when I overheard one say, “Thank God I’ll be gone when that happens!”

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