Matthew 24:40 ESV – And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
William Booth founded the Salvation Army in London, England in 1865. Their mission was to help the suffering souls throughout London who were not willing, or were unable, to attend a traditional church service. The Salvation Army ministered to all people equally. Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers and drunkards were among their first converts for Christ.
On Christian Eve, 1910, General William Booth was invalid and nearing the end of his life. It was impossible for him to attend the annual Salvation Army’s convention yet he greatly wished to encourage their many laborers for Christ in some small way. He decided that a telegram to be read at the convention might bring them encouragement but funds were limited and telegrams were priced by the number of words in the message. Booth pondered this carefully before acting.
As the thousands of Salvation Army delegates met for their convention, the moderator opened the gathering by saying that General Booth would not be attending due to his failing health. A cloud of gloom quickly swept across the faces of the attendees until the moderator announced that Booth had sent a telegram to be read at the opening of the first session of the convention. As the assembled watched, the moderator opened the message and read it. It simply said, “Others!”
General Booth wished more than anything that the people in attendance focus themselves upon the needs of others. Any ministry that focuses outward will continue to flourish while ministries that become inwardly focused will gradually wither.
The measure of a person or organization is often found more in what they, or it, are willing to do for others than in what they, or it, are willing to do for themselves.