Dear Salvation Army – A Word From General William Booth

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!

jumpA 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!

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4 Replies to “Dear Salvation Army – A Word From General William Booth”

  1. Here are some answers to your questions:

    -To what depths and lengths are we willing to fight?

    Today, we are only willing to fight the battles we think we should be fighting. We will not fight any battle that looses us support, either in the conservative Christian community, or financially.

    -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?

    No, because we only fight if it is convenient, and to our advantage.

    -Are we still up to the challenge or are we just dead weight clinging onto life?

    We can only be up to the challenge if we are committed to the work the Holy Spirit places before us to do, and are willing to take on the challenges He places before us. Sadly though, too often we either miss what Holy Spirit is trying to say, or we ignore it because we don’t think He’s really saying what He’s saying.

    If we truly WANT to be the Army that God has raised up, then we NEED to be willing to do what He calls us to do, where He calls us to do it, no matter WHAT it is, what it might require of us, and where it might take us. If we can’t, then we are just dead weight clinging to life, if we CAN, then we’ll be a force to be reckoned with, and Satan will tremble because of our efforts.

    In today’s world, the Army needs adventurers like those of days gone by who are more interested in ‘winning souls for Christ’ than they are in maintaining the status quo. We need people, led by Holy Spirit who are willing to challenge their own thinking, and their own understanding in an attempt to reach-out to those they never would have imagined reaching-out to.

    God is calling us to make a difference, not maintain the status quo. He wants us to reach-out to people, even when we think they have no worth, and I’m NOT just talking about the poor in material goods, but the poor in Spirit who have lost sight of the loving God who cares for THEM, and the ones who our interpretations of scripture say are unredeemable.

    God has raised us up to be a beacon of hope to those who have none. In some ways, today we still do that. We do help the poor, and the ones WE think are marginalized. But there is SO much MORE work to do! And today, God is calling us to broaden our horizons and seek those who we have been either unable or unwilling to help. God is NOT done with The Salvation Army!

  2. Why is Booth concerned w/ $$$ before spiritual health (first line of quote)? I find almost no account of Jesus financials. Is this a good indication of what is most important to TSA?

    1. I don’t believe that’s the point of what he was saying. His intention was to remind those who had aligned themselves with the mission of the army to carry on.

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