Smith Calls for Church to Build
by Lt. Kyle Smith –
Today, we, the Builders of the Kingdom, have been called by God to build, to build a better world where Christ will be king. We’ve come from many different places: from Laos, The Marshall Islands, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Canada, New Zealand, and from all over this great country. Although we come from many different places and backgrounds, we all have one thing in common: we have all been called to be witnesses for Jesus Christ in a world and a time when he has been forgotten. God has called us to be his witnesses to a hurting and dying world within this great arm of his church, The Salvation Army.
Today, we have been commissioned and are being sent out as new lieutenants all over the Western United States as “Builders of God’s Kingdom.” We have dreams. We have visions. We have enthusiasm. And we desire not to be just any builder. We desire to be the best builders for Christ we can be.
We want to be an integral part of the building up of God’s army, The Salvation Army. But without your support, without the support of everyone in this room we will fail–fail to build to the potential that God has planned, not only for us, but also for you. You see, our commissioning is not just about us, the Builders; it is about us, The Salvation Army.
It takes more than a builder to build a house; and it takes more than an officer to build an Army.
When you build a house, many people are involved. There are the owner, the architect and contractors including the plumbers, electrician, and the interior decorators. There are the roofing guys and the tile layers and there are always the building inspectors.
The bigger the building, the more people are involved. It then becomes necessary to have a site manager, foremen, laborers, administrators and, of course, we must not forget the builders.
You may think that if we have all these people, we would have more than enough to build a great building. But do you know what? We have hardly started! What about the truck drivers who bring all the building materials to the site? There are the forestry workers who grew and harvested the trees for timber. Then, there those who mined the ore to make the metal which makes the nails, taps, hinges and locks. This list could go on and on. You see, to build a building, a lot more people are involved than just the builder. The builder is only one among many.
Wouldn’t it be foolish for the builder to think he could build a great building without outside help? Likewise, would it not also be foolish for others to think that a builder could build a house on his own? Maybe he could, but it would be the difference between a building like the mud huts you see in developing countries and the beautiful buildings we have here in America.
I know which sort of building I would prefer to live in, and I know what sort of building I would like to be known for building. More importantly I know what sort of Kingdom we are meant to be building: A Kingdom where Christ will be king. God wants our best and deserves our best, but our best is only possible if we work together in unity, as God himself has ordained.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us that we are all part of a body–the body of Christ. Just as every part of our body is important, so each of us has a different but important part to play within The Salvation Army. Without each person doing his part we are incomplete.
We are all in this together. You out there and we up here are a team. We need you. You need us. We need each other. We need your help, your expertise and your wisdom.
We, the Builders of the Kingdom session, will rely on Christ to help us build his Kingdom to the best of our abilities, to do the part that God has given us. But we cannot emphasize enough that we cannot do it alone!
President John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” Today the challenge comes to us: “Ask not what the Army can do for you, but what you can do for the Army.” Let us all ask ourselves, “What is it that God is asking of me? What is my role? What is it I can do to build God’s Kingdom? Am I doing what God wants me to do?”
In a day and age when things are changing so quickly, it is more important than ever that we build on a solid foundation. The only sure foundation is Jesus Christ. As we look to the future we must not forget our past. Those Salvationists and officers that have gone before us have built a great Army. We must continue to build on what they have begun.
Yet, we are not here to preserve the status quo, but to continue to build The Salvation Army into an ever stronger fighting force for Christ that will knock at the very gates of hell. We seek to reach out to the lost and the downtrodden, to those who live in hopeless despair, to those who do not know Christ. We are called to share Christ with a dying world. Is that not the primary purpose for which Christ raised The Salvation Army? Is that not all our desire? To see sinners saved and liberated? So as we fight the good fight let us continually encourage and build each other up. Let us all seek to build Christ’s Kingdom together, because we are all called to be Builders of God’s Kingdom.
So today we declare, in words William Booth might have used were he here with us today,
“While women weep as they do now, we’ll build;
While little children go hungry as they do now, we’ll build;
While men go to prison in and out, in and out, as they do now, we’ll build;
While there is a drunkard left, we’ll build;
While there is a poor girl upon the streets, we’ll build;
While there remains one dark soul without the light of God,
We’ll build, we’ll build, we’ll build a better world where Jesus shall be King.”