Who is a Salvo?
Who is a Salvo?
16 March 2018
If I handed you a blank sheet of paper and some colouring pencils and asked you to draw a picture of a Salvo, I wonder what you would produce. Would you draw a man or a woman? What colour would you choose for their hair? Would they wear a formal navy uniform or a casual red-shield T-shirt? Or would they wear plain clothes? Maybe you would draw a picture of someone you know.
In John’s gospel there is an emotive description of the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples. Not long after washing their feet (a confronting, counter-cultural act of service), Jesus says these words: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
On that night, Jesus made plain that the quality that identifies a person as a Christ-follower is not what they wear, where they live or similar. It is found in something much deeper. e de ning quality is how they love.
Similarly, Salvos come in all shapes, ages and nationalities. We live in all corners of the nation. Some of us wear a uniform, and some do not. What binds us together and makes us all Salvos – our defining quality, if you like – is that we live out the vision.
Our National Vision Statement describes the behaviour and identifying characteristics of a Salvo perfectly: “Wherever there is hardship or injustice, Salvos will live, love and fight alongside others to transform Australia one life at a time with the love of Jesus.”
By this everyone will know that you are a Salvo, if you live, love and fight, alongside others. By this everyone will know that you are a Salvo, if you see hardship or injustice and respond with the love of Jesus.
In one sense, it is not us who decides who is a Salvo. Members of the Australian public identify us and name us as Salvos when they witness us living out the vision. When they see volunteers, officers, soldiers and employees living, loving and fighting, they might say: “Thank God for the Salvos.”
I have spoken to some who have expressed concern that we are “watering down” the word Salvo or “lowering the bar”. I point them back to the words of our Vision Statement. is is no small commitment! Just imagine what God is going to do through a united Army of Salvos, living this Vision Statement out across our country.
As we move through our Vision Booster campaign, I am full of thanks to God for the thousands of Salvos across Australia who have already boldly signed up to live out the national vision.
This weekend we will have a national time of Vision Commitment and Covenant Renewal.
I implore you to carefully read the words of the vision and reflect on what it might look like for you to live them out. It needs to be personal. Where do you see hardship or injustice? Who needs you to fight for them? Who could you live, love and fight alongside? What does it mean for you to respond with the love of Jesus? As you pray, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you consider the words of the statement. Ask that he would lead you and fill you with his love and power.
Finally, know that my wife, Tracey, and I are praying for you.
Salvos, these are great days. I truly believe that we will see Australia transformed, one life at a time, with the love of Jesus. The stories I hear from Salvos around the country assure me that it is already happening!
Commissioner Floyd Tidd is National Commander of The Salvation Army in Australia.