In 1865, William Booth’s sole mission was to preach the gospel; feed the soul with the filling words of God and to reveal the love of Christ to anyone who would dare listen. Booth strongly believed in the “Soup, Soap and Salvation” concept. This gave a person their dignity back by cleaning them physically, filled their empty stomachs with nourishment by the food that was served and once they felt human again, the gospel, the good news, the Word of God would be shared for them to receive, understand, accept and most importantly realize they are loved and not alone.
In 1865 and for many years following, the officers, staff and dedicated supporters of The Salvation Army would gather on street corners and sing words of worship to the tunes of familiar bar songs of the day. They would hand out pamphlets, shake people’s hands, hug on them, encourage them, pray with them. They would host “open airs” which is a meeting held outdoors to tell others about Jesus. They would share upcoming events and meetings and would celebrate the testimonies and life change of others. All of this was done by foot or traveling by car, letter writing, telegraph, magazines and word of mouth.
Today, we can not only be found in 122 countries, ministering on the streets, working within our respective corps, commands, schools, medical clinics and orphanages but we travel daily down the “cyber highway” known as the Internet. A few years ago, The Salvation Army branched out from its physical streets to an “online” road and without missing a beat continues the preaching of the gospel, the sharing of testimonies, the updates regarding events and meetings, prayer requests and daily encouragements via the written word. With a few swift keystrokes, this information is sent to millions of people all over the world 24/7. As a need arises or tragedy affects one of us, all of us can be notified within minutes and together through fervent prayer we can meet the challenge head on!
I can imagine how William Booth would have felt had he possessed at his fingertips all of the technology we have today. To know that at the very moment he received a word from God he could type and hit send and the entire world would receive what God needed them to hear. Yet, how amazing it is that without the technology at his disposal, Booth launched a mission that spread all over the world in record time. It just boils down to no matter how the message is sent, if there isn’t any passion, drive, love and dedication behind it, it simply falls flat and produces a dull sound as it reaches our ears or is just a myriad of upper and lower case fonts streaming across our screens. But with it, the message is loud and clear and whether it’s by foot, written letter or typed blogs and status updates, we can see what is being done, what needs to be done and how we can play a role in getting it done!
Matthew 13:16, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”