The more I think about it, the more its true. Now….during the course of a regular Sunday I say a lot of things, but last Sunday I said this: “The human heart is made for burning…it is is not burning for God it will burn for something”
That phrase has been running round my head all week. Then, this evening I watched a film called ‘Man Dancin’.’ Its a film of a Glaswegian gang man who comes out of prison and becomes a bit of a social advocate, standing up against the oppression of his former ‘cheif.’ The film is full of the aggressive words of Jesus.
Even when your heart is burning for God, it still burns in a particular way. The film was full of the life we experienced for two and a half years in Glasgow. In fact, I could take you to some of the spots where they filmed the movie.
Now, I didn’t like life in the east end of Glasgow. There was so much darkness, opression, injustice, lack of hope, depair even. There was only the two of us trying to keep a relatively useless little ministry going whilst trying to branch out in new ways. It didn’t work because there was an unrealistic expectation that we’d keep all the other stuff going whilst breaking new ground…I suppose my leaders will have to give account for that one day too.
Anyway, thats not what I’m saying….back to the film. I saw characters there in that film that I knew, that I knew how to relate to. And the sad thing was: it all seemed a million miles away.
I was brought up on a council estate with fairly average working class council estate parents. In many way’s I am a product of my upbringing. Now I find myself a million miles from all that.
I feel like Moses must have felt. He found himself detatched from his cultural roots being brought up in the palace, the life of Riley! But one day he sees his people opressed and he stands up. Later God uses his anger and sense of injustice to use him to carry out his redemptive purposes. Moses brought the people hardship, more work, but eventually their freedom.
I’m not comparing myself to Moses. But my heart burns for my people. Some of them are Scottish…some of them are Bristolian, some of them are Pillites, some of em even come from Portishead…but wherever they are, they are the very same people locked in by the prison of no hope, no life and no salvation. I’ve been there. I know what its like. I’ve a cry in my heart that says: ‘let me people go!’
Therein lies my big problem in officership. I have very little patience with the seemingly unimportant whimpers of Christian people. Thats not good in my line of work. So, go on, shoot me down for that. But sometimes is like listening to the courtiers of the Egyptian palace complain that the wine is too warm when outside the Hebrews are slaving under a whip of oppression. Oh God would you give me the grace I need.
I believe firmly in the purposes of God. I know for sure he has sent me here to Pill for a reason. I can see several ways in which that purpose is manifesting itself. But there is a tendancy to feel that you must take on the purpose that others think you should have. I guess I may feel something like what Moses did kitted out with his palace and jewels when all along he knew where he belonged.
Last week at officers seminar we watched Bill Hybels talk about ‘Holy Discontent’ and about fuelling the passions God gives you. Its dangerous.
More than that, sometimes it feels well nigh impossible! I know what my heart is capable of burning with. Question is….will I let it?
What are my passions? The lost, the least, the used, the despised, the prostituted, the addict, the hopeless, the helpless. I am passionate about the restoration of the Salvation Army to the task it was ordained to do. I am passionate about helping as many of my own friends and family avoid the fires of Hell. I’m passionate about being an officer in God’s Army and in training and equipping the saints for the battle. If that makes me a bad officer in some people’s eyes, then I am content for the gospel’s sake to let people think bad of me.
Many good Christian people have been lulled into a false notion that their officer exists to have a cup of tea with them and pamper to their whims when all along I sense a greater urgency about securing their continuing salvation and freedom in Christ and seeing them effectively employed in the battle. There are some that you could hardly ever get round to having a spiritual conversation with,let along nurturingthe Holy Spirit in them for their own freedom and for their own usefulness to the Kingdom.
Some of my saints don’t know there is a battle on and those that do are getting tired. The call to the plight of God’s children in slavery is increasing the workload of the committed…the calling is taking its toll.
But then there is the beautiful grace of God himself. Then there is the strenghtening bond of covenant which is strength.
How shall I sum up so that there is no misunderstanding in what I am saying? I will say this…I must do what God has called me to do.
yours under the flag