THE PROPHET TO THE POOR Andy Hollifield 7-5-18
Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference.
Are you confused yet? There is a very important birthday that is being largely overlooked. The Salvation Army was founded on this day in 1865 by William Booth of London. Booth was a Methodist minister and pastored for several years. He had begun his ministry when he accepted the Lord as his Savior during his 15th year. He is said to have made a diary entry which read. “God shall have all there is of William Booth.”
A quick review of his life is proof that he kept the vow he wrote in his diary. There was a Wesleyan couple that invited William to go to church with them and he did. Think about that for a minute. A 15-year-old boy is invited to a church service and goes on in life to found one of, if not the most respected charities to needy people in the world. I guess that goes to show that you never really know just who it is that you may bring to church with you. Booth heard an American revivalist preacher named Charles G. Finney. He was so impressed with the number of people who came to hear the preacher, that he adopted his methods throughout his life and ministry. Booth believed that “soul-saving results may be calculated upon when proper methods are used.” Still a young man, Booth set out with a group of friends to evangelize the poor. Although saved in a Wesleyan church, he at some point began attending a Methodist church. He pastor encouraged him to work toward a full-time pastorate position. Even though he settled down and pastored for at least 3 years, it was during this time that he realized that he would rather be down in the back streets of England than to be pastoring a bunch of reformed Methodist. He married Catherine Mumford in 1855 and in 1861 he resigned his church and went into full time evangelism. He organized a mission in 1870 and renamed it the “Salvation Army” in 1878. His life proved out that he definitely had compassion for people that were on the street. William knew firsthand what it was to grow up in poverty. He was known as “The Prophet to the poor.” While his body was lying in state in 1912, there were over 150,000 that filed past his casket and 40,000 attended the funeral including Queen Elizabeth.
I didn’t write this just to brag on William Booth or the Salvation Army but rather to illustrate the fact that you never know what God might want to accomplish with your life. You may never be a William Booth but we all have things that we can do that God would cause to grow and prosper if we just surrendered to him. Just like with Mr. Booth, some of the religious establishment may not be supportive of you, but if it is what God wants from you, he is all the support you need. God will never direct us to do anything that is contrary to his word. If we as Christians can’t love people who are on the bottom and in the dark times of their lives, who will? I can tell you firsthand that there is a certain amount of satisfaction in knowing you have just helped meet a legitimate need for someone who couldn’t do it for themselves. William Booth was a prophet to the poor. Who will you be a prophet to? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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