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Compelled to care whatever the cost

Compelled to care whatever the cost

Compelled to care whatever the cost

The search for someone who cares remains a quest for many people. 

By Commissioner Floyd Tidd

In the days before mobile phones the phrase, “Here’s 50 cents – go call someone who cares?” was sometimes heard to interrupt the story being shared. It was perhaps a bit of sarcastic humour between friends, but perhaps more a symbol of a world in desperate search of someone who cares.

Although the phonebooth may be a thing of the past, the search for someone who cares remains for many. But who cares? When Jesus was asked which was the most important commandment, he replied: “Love God and love your neighbour.”

Although asked for the most important commandment, he gives two. And the two commandments are connected: with God – comes the neighbour. Hirsch and Frost in their book, The Faith of Leap, note that "we might live in a society that wants to separate God from neighbourliness, but you can’t claim to love God without loving the neighbour. In Jesus’ vision of the world, they are a package deal. So in a kingdom of neighbourliness, the homeless, the widow, the orphan, the illegal immigrant, the poor, the disabled all count. They become agents of hope, opportunities for us to express our confidence in the coming kingdom, rather than threats or inconveniences."

We can’t say we love God and not be the ones to step up when the question is asked, "who cares?" Because The Salvation Army is a Christian movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus, we share the love of Jesus by caring for people.

Across Australia expressions of The Salvation Army are being used by God to transform neighbourhoods one life at a time as we share the love of Jesus by caring for people. Our focus matches his commandment when we are more concerned that our corps attend to our communities than whether our communities attend our corps. Caring costs.

It is easier to care when someone else is prepared to pay the cost. But when there is no one else to pay the cost of caring, will we still care? Has the place of suffering in service and of passion in mission, been lost in our teaching and lived experience.

Throughout the history of the church the greatest secret of evangelistic or missionary effectiveness is the willingness to suffer and die; to pay the cost of caring. The one who serves, who cares, must suffer if light is to shine into the darkness.

Jesus came because he cared. He paid the cost of caring when he suffered and died. He has commissioned his followers to love the way he has loved, to care as he cared. Caring will cost.

A movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus by caring for people must be a Salvation Army that has developed a culture of "caring whatever the cost".

The neighbourhood, with its 50-cent piece, is desperate for an Army prepared to respond to the call, “Who Cares?” with a care-full response:

Do you sometimes feel that no one truly knows you,

And that no one understands or really care?

Through his people God himself is close beside you,

And through them he plans to answer all your prayers.

Someone cares, Someone cares

God himself has heard the whisper of your prayers.

 

Commissioner Floyd Tidd is National Commander of The Salvation Army in Australia.

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