The Salvation Army’s international mission statement declares that our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and‘to meet human needs in his name without discrimination’ (1). In the general’s ‘Call to Inclusion’, we are again reminded of this important part of our mission statement (2). Inclusion was definitely central to Jesus’ understanding of his own mission:
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
Jesus states that he will never drive away anyone who comes to him. Still, some will go away from him saddened. That happened to the rich man who came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to have eternal life. He confirmed that he had kept the commandments, but something was missing. Jesus then confronted him with this challenge: “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.” (3). Because the man had many possessions, this challenge became too much for him, and he left.
Jesus welcomes everyone. It was not Jesus who drove the rich man away. It made his own choice. Some would probably say that the man was a victim of discrimination because he was rich, and therefore could not follow Jesus in the same way as his disciples did. However, I am convinced that he knew he was loved and accepted. The challenge for him was that to make a choice also involved opting out of something else.
That hasn’t changed over the past 2000 years. When I make a choice, it is likely to influence the possibility of making other choices. When everyone desires everything, and want to keep the freedom of choice under all circumstances, it becomes very hard. May be this is the greatest challenge of our time?
‘Manna’ for today:
Jesus will never drive anyone away
(1) The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Our message is based on the Bible. Our ministry is motivated by the love of God. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.
(2) General Peddle’s call: A Call to Inclusion: We must be beyond reproach in treating all people with respect and compassion, remembering our mission to meet human needs in Christ’s name without any discrimination
(3) Matthew 19:21