As Cadets at the Salvation Army college we have the privilige of meeting a lot of officers. Some newly commissioned, some old in the game and some retired. What strikes me is how many of these officers seem to be burnt out and jaded. I do understand that being a Salvation Army Officer is hard work but surely it is also blessed work.

I saw an add yesterday on the train that said:

“if you like your job don’t bother with this add”

I prayed a prayer that I would never want to bother with that add. I want to be like the guy in Mary Poppins singing:

“Chim chimeny, chim chimeny, chim chim cheroo, I do what I like and I like what I do!”

Surely Officership is a privilege. To have a job where part of your work description is to spend quality time with God. A vocation where you are expected to spend time growing and maturing your faith, reading devotional books, praying, praising and functioning in your gifts.

I do understand that there are jobs that are less pleasant and some even unpleasant but we have that in common with the chimney sweep. I think that sometimes we get so busy with the dirty work that we forget to look around us and enjoy the majestic view. Like the chimney sweep we are “on top of the world” even if we do have our hands in the dirt!

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I think that whether one becomes burnt out and jaded really depends on what type of appointment(s) you have (and have had)…and yes I am speaking as an Officer’s kid.

Also whilst you might expect to do all those things mentioned, (spend time growing and maturing your faith, reading devotional books, praying, praising and functioning in your gifts) your congregation might not expect you to do all of them as precious time to do these things gets eaten up by ‘work’. The flip side to this is that some Officers expect their people to do all those things listed whilst at the same time holding down a full time job!

I guess we’ll know ten years down the line how we’re doing, but we might discover by then that the soot from many chimneys has obstructed the wonderful view!


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