Reliance on God
The Covenant that an officer makes is one that shows his or her reliance on God to fulfill it. The binding of oneself to him emphasizes the union that all believers have with Christ. All believers, including officers, must cling to him and rely on his strength to sustain them.
Officership is not an easy task. Anyone who would claim that officership is a piece of cake is probably missing something. It is no wonder that many officers find themselves burned out and taxed at some point in their officer career. The officer must cling to the strength that comes only from God and his grace. As Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” As we bind to the one who can sustain us, we have the hope and promise of the one who is faithful to strengthen us. When the tasks and duties of officership seem to spin around us, we cling to Jesus Christ and his power to keep us true to our Covenant.
A Sacred Covenant
The word “solemn” can mean “formal”, “not cheerful”, or “characterized by deep sincerity”. Though the Officer’s Covenant is formal and must be done with the utmost sincerity, it is something we can rejoice in! The Officer’s Covenant should never be thought of as “signing one’s life away” or as something somber. Instead, it is an honest, genuine, joyful Covenant made between the officer and God as well as the officer and The Salvation Army.
Another way to describe the Covenant is that it is a sacred Covenant. It should never be taken lightly or half-heartedly. One reason I have chosen to write on the Officer’s Covenant is to prepare myself for signing this very document. The sacred nature is not in the Covenant itself; rather, it is sacred because of who the Covenant is made with. The Officer’s Covenant is made with the covenantal God. Throughout Scripture, we see the evidence of God’s covenantal promises. The biblical covenants were initiated by God and were everlasting covenants. In a similar way, the Officer’s Covenant has been initiated by God through the officer’s individual calling to ministry. Again, in a similar way, the Officer’s Covenant should be an everlasting covenant. It is not meant to be broken. A covenant is a life-long promise between two people (in this case, between God and the officer). There are circumstances in which a person may either choose to leave officership or may be relieved of their duties. Though this sometimes happens for reasons related to breaking the Officer’s Covenant, I believe it is still possible for the person to follow the principles of the Covenant outside of the ranks of officership. I would encourage anyone in such a situation to ask themselves how they may continue to live according to this Covenant.
Like anyone signing a job description, the Officer’s Covenant is a basic guideline for our officer duties. An employee cannot simply pick and choose what parts of the job description he or she desires to do. In the same way, officers are bound to the entirety of the Officer’s Covenant. As will follow in the next sections, the principle duties in which all other officer responsibilities stem from are listed. By signing the Officer’s Covenant, every officer promises with God and with The Salvation Army to execute these duties to the best of his or her abilities.