On the Corner
An open letter to God’s Fellow Workers
by Robert Docter, Editor-In-Chief –
You are part of a thin, blue line stretched delicately around the world, but you are neither fragile nor emaciated. You have strength even, as yet, unknown to you. You are more than a number. You bring history with you. You fulfill an image and a reputation gained by a great host of sacrificing workers who preceded you in that same thin, blue line. You are not alone.
You session name identifies you as workers. It says two things. First, it declares that you are someone who doesn’t hold back when the going gets tough; and, second, it says you’re not alone in the process. Now you’re Salvation Army officers, ministers of spiritual and social survival.
There are few words of commendation I use that, to me, are more powerful than to describe someone as a “worker.” To me, this is someone who has established a relevant goal, identified meaningful tasks designed to achieve the goal, and has determined how to know when that goal has been achieved. That label of “worker” has been assigned you. Now, you must earn it.
God and all his soldiers take places in that line with you. You are not alone. Here are some thoughts on being a worker in this vineyard.
Be workmanlike. Finish what you start. Make the product competently. Perfect your skills. Remember, you are a work of art—beautiful, worthy of admiration.
The main work you will do in your new position will be to relate to those to whom you minister. Relating is much more than simply a casual greeting or talking at people behind a wooden desk. Model Christian love. Show warmth. Stay positive. Be genuine. Care greatly. Laugh much. Cry empathically. Your workbench will not be your desk. It will be your feet. God loves moving feet. Walk as if you’re going some place.
How beautiful … are the feet of those
who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who announce salvation …
A second part of your new type of work involves the process of producing or accomplishing something through some kind of physical, mental and spiritual exertion. You might even work up a sweat or get your hands dirty.
By the way, New Frontier doesn’t print pictures of officers who have their hands in their pockets.
We’re in the business of holding out our hearts and our hands —to God and to mankind. Your hands often show where your heart is.
I hope you’re in shape—good shape. If not, you need to devise a workout that will get you there. Some of it will be physical. How fast can you run the mile—or maybe I should say “can you run a mile?” I can, and I’m twice as old as all of you. Can you do any push-ups? Do you ever stretch your muscles? If not, you’re going to pay for it. How much overweight are you? Lose it.
Some of that workout will be mental. Obviously you need to study God’s word. It’s amazing how much you don’t know. That’s an hypothesis—but I’m pretty sure it’s accurate. Start with Scripture, but don’t stop there. If you’re a parent, study about parenting. If you’re not a parent, study about children and adolescence and how to relate to these important age groups.
A lot of it will be spiritual. Learn to trust God. Trust is available to you according to the dimensions of your faith. Everyone can grow in faith. Learn to listen when you pray. Be quiet once in a while. Learn to meditate. Remember to praise God when you feel fortunate. It’s not “luck” that made something happen. It’s God working through people who work.
Avoid becoming a workaholic. There are some indicators of this malady: ignoring your family, being unwilling to take a day off, carrying two brief cases, feeling overly responsible, becoming hurt and angry at people you perceive are not carrying their own weight.
Workaholism leads to burn-out. It is driven by feelings dominating rational thought. Avoid allowing yourself to become overly tired. Stay healthy.
If you ask, God will be working alongside you. Pay attention to what he says—and try to listen with ears that understand.
Stay true. Work effectively. Stay focused on the big picture. Be proud of your workmanship.