As I understand the intent behind the change, this was never intended to be braggadocio, rather the call for every Salvationist to strive to be as good as the public believes them to be.
This is a daunting responsibility, promising to do the most amount of good people think you do. However, I am confident it can be realized as Army leadership commits to seeking the will and blessing of God on every decision regardless of the perceived potential impact to the organization.
Last week I learned of a good friend's decision to alert the waitress who was serving her that she had undercharged their lunch bill by $8.00.
This past Sunday following church the same thing happened to my family as our server forgot to charge the additional $12.00 for our sodas.
Doing the right thing didn’t take much thought, prayer or deliberation…we just did it because we already knew the right thing to do!
You may be saying, "So what, the total impact of the two transactions is a measly $20.00!"
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates the number of adult Christians in the United States to be approximately 247 million.
What would happen if every Christ Follower had just 1 similar experience sometime over the next 12 months?
We would have nearly 2.5 billion dollars in acts of credibility.
Once again you would be correct to say that there are many who would do the same thing, even though they would not call themselves followers of Christ.
Perhaps the difference is because of the One we have chosen to follow. You see this kind of simple action should foundationally and fundamentally be the fabric of the Christ follower.
Sadly too often instead of being seen as making a positive contribution to society, much of the collateral of our testimony has been expended on those things we stand against and or even used for what appears to be self interest.
Some questions that are asked in determining what is right may include;
1. Is the organization worth protecting at all cost regardless of the hurt caused to individuals (Penn State University and Jerry Sandusky, The Church and pedophile clergy)
2. Is the organization of more value than the individual?
3. Can there be more than one right thing of equal value?
4. What criteria should be used in determining the right thing (the Bible, a business model, a legal, or ethical basis, pragmatism, other?)
5. Who ultimately determines the right thing (a small group of individuals at the top or does the group have input in determining values)
I have a good friend who likes to remind me that position determines perspective. This is very true. But my question is does position determine right from wrong or better from best?
Are we comfortable with the thought that because a person or persons have been given authority they can decide what is right or wrong, better or best?
Perhaps those who have been entrusted with such power should first covenant to understand and fully embrace God's heart without allowing their position to deceive them into believing they are responsible for determining right from wrong, better from best.
In George Barna's book Think Like Jesus he states, "The emphasis of many churches with a biblical worldview is to not only teach biblical perspectives, but also to help people connect the dots of the core principles taught. The goal is to facilitate a means of interpreting and responding to every life situation that is consistent with God's expectations. These are not perfect people, but once they catch on to the critical principles found in the Bible and train their minds to incorporate those views into their thinking, their behavior varies noticeably from the norm."
My disclaimer is that many years ago I came to the realization that I am rarely if ever in a position to offer the final judgment on most situations. Life is complicated and we are rarely blessed with all the facts.
Salvation Army, you have accepted the challenge to, "Do the Most Good" My prayer for you as you continue this ministry journey is that you will also accept the challenge to always, "Do the Right Thing!?
USA Eastern Territory