“Our greatest calling and highest privilege.”

She arrived in Paris in 1850 accompanied by two teenage friends. There was not a more turbulent time in France. It was the early days of the Third Republic. Crime, disease, alcoholism, and anti-church culture were rampant.

One of the first things she and her friends did was pin straps on their bonnets instead of sewing them on so men couldn’t strangle them while preaching in the bars. At the end of five years, 200 converts had been injured, 175 arrested and one killed. This young evangelist never flinched. She was nicknamed, La Capitaine. Within a short time, she became known as La Maréchal, the Field Marshall.

She was resented by the French for her clothes and accent. But most of all, for her bold optimism. However, in the end, they came to respect and love her dearly. She was paid the highest compliment given by the French, “She loves France.”

Even when they fought her, they loved her style and courage. From the beginning, she refused to use an interpreter. She said, “If I begin with crutches, I shall always need crutches.” One hundred years after she arrived, she was still honored. New articles, books, special celebrations marked the anniversary of the coming of the La Maréchal, the Field Marshall.

Why was she loved so dearly? Certainly, her preaching impacted may with thousands coming to Christ. Just as important was the depth of her care for the poor. But, above all else, was her desire to become French to the French. She won their hearts by becoming one of them. She was, Catherine Booth, founder of the Salvation Army in France.

Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (ESV)

Our greatest calling and highest privilege is not preaching the gospel but being the gospel. This alone gives us the right to preach the gospel. There are few things more counterfeit, “a fraudulent imitation of the genuine,” than preaching Jesus when your actions do not reflect His values.

God did not send His Son in a fiery chariot riding above the masses, shouting prophetic messages of gloom and doom. He raised up Old Testament prophets to warn the “Chosen of God.” But He has called the New Testament Church to bring hope to the lost and disciple Kingdom warriors.

Jesus did not remain aloof from the world’s problems but entered them so He could identify with the hopeless, broken and hurting. His authority is rooted not only in who He is, but as the Creator, He stepped into His own creation.

Our privilege to speak with authority into the lives of sinners and new believers comes from our commitment to live among them as servants and disciples of Christ. It’s very possible to be a believer and not be an incarnational Christian, Jesus’ manifested presence.

We must not only have a message. We must pick up the towel and basin and stoop to serve those to whom God has called us to reach. May our actions match our articulations in fulfilling our highest calling greatest privilege.