“And now, comrades and friends, I must say goodbye. I am going into dry-dock for repairs, but the Army will not be allowed to suffer, either financially or spiritually, or in any other way by my absence; and in the long future I think it will be seen – and I will not be here to see – but you will, that the Army will answer every doubt and banish every fear and strangle every slander, and by its marvelous success show to the world that it is the work of God and that The General has been his servant.” (Excerpt from Booth’s 83rd Birthday Speech at Clapton Congress Hall. From: “Farewell to the Founder” by R.G. Moyles pg 6.)
General William Booth was in poor health at this time (1912), he was nearly blind and could feel his body slowly giving out. Though he initially started with these farewell remarks, he concluded this speech with the now very famous quote: “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go into prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end.”
Questions For Our Army Today:
-To what depths and lengths are we willing to fight?
-Can we confidently say that in uniform and out of uniform that we would fight to the very end for the marginalized, the poor, the outcast, the sick and the dying?
-Are we still up to the challenge or are we just dead weight clinging onto life?
Last week we explored a prophetic quote by Booth (see earlier posts: Part I & Part II)…If a nearly blind man could plainly see the direction of our Army and the constant need for God’s reliance, are we able to see this need as well?
Let me expound here for a moment. It doesn’t matter if you’re a soldier of the Salvation Army or not. What matters most is if you will serve the Living God first and foremost. If we clear away the other concerns and focus on this relationship first, all other issues will then become so much clearer. With that being said, Dear Salvation Army how goes the fight? Are we still equipped to “banish every fear” that we encounter? Are we brave enough to “strangle” every slanderous word that we and others face? Can we still win the world for Jesus? Is that in our power? No! But it is in the power of the Holy Spirit, who is mighty to save!
A Jump Start?
Sometimes I feel that we all need to good swift kick in the backside from time to time. We need to be reminded of our motivation. We need to prompted to “go on in victory”. We also need to be reminded that we are not alone in this fight. We are an Army, not on a renegade solo mission. We need each other to stand beside us. We need the encouragement of leadership. We need the mighty arm of the Lord to spur us onward. Without Him we can do nothing. Without Him we fall flat on our faces in failure. I believe we have been ordained by the Lord to serve those within our world. I truly believe our founder felt this way as well. William Booth didn’t quit or surrender in his day even in the midst of failing health. We shouldn’t quit either in this daily, even moment by moment endeavor. If we must be reminded of anything here it is that without the constant need for holy living in and through us we can lose our way. Holiness is the key. A disciplined life is our road map. A world for Christ is our goal.
Fight on dear Army, we are saved to save and to serve Him while reaching out to all who have lost their way; all who have given up hope in this life; all who need to see and experience Godly love and compassion in our world. Fight on!