This weekend in the Australia Southern Territory of The Salvation Army is the commissioning and ordination of new Officers for full-time leadership and ministry. It is a significant event that marks the beginning of a covenant "to love and serve [God] supremely all my days, to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life, to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends, to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God's grace to prove myself a worthy officer."
As I reflect back upon my own Commissioning weekend 16 years ago, I remember standing before the congregation at the Melbourne Town Hall taking turns to declare a one line testimony as we stood on the threshold of an adventure of a lifetime. From the words penned by Ruth Tracy in The Salvation Army song book, I testified that "I have pleasure in His service, more than all, more than all." I can say to you with the same wide-eyed confidence of a newly commissioned Officer ready to change the world, that this is as true today as it was when I first spoke it out. The only difference between then and now is that today these words have the credibility of experience.
So, when I say "I have pleasure in His service, more than all" it is in the context of leadership challenges, ministry failures, spiritual attacks and personal cost. Yet, at the same time it is with a clear vision of the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit who radically transforms lives through the grace of Jesus Christ.
I have pleasure in seeing the LORD honoured and glorified
I have pleasure in seeing the LOST redeemed
I have pleasure in seeing the LIVES of broken people transformed
I have pleasure in seeing LEADERS equipped and empowered
My pleasure in His service is not conditional upon the realities of leadership and minsitry, but more than all upon an unshakeable calling and a passionate belief that I really can make a difference.