MAKING A DIFFERENCE Andy Hollifield 7-30-19
Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
What can I do? That is the question asked by a lot of us as an excuse for not doing anything. There is nothing wrong with the question and there is a simple answer to it; “Do what you can.” In Mark 14:8 Jesus made a statement when Mary was being ridiculed for anointing him with oil instead of selling the oil and giving to charity. In verse 6 he told them “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me.” In verse 8 he summed it up even better when he said in her defense; “She hath done what she could.”
It isn’t great works or even great ability that Jesus is looking for. It is “good works” with the right heart of compassion that Jesus wants from us. Mary had no great ability but she was just available. Jesus wants our availability and then he can give us the abilities he wants us to have. If we have a heart and mind to work for the Lord as in the book of Nehemiah, there is work each of us can do.
There is one glowing example that we all know about but few of us know the actual origins of it. In 1829, in the home of a builder in England, little Willie was born. Fifteen years later at a Wesleyan revival meeting, Willie accepted the Lord and became a revivalist preacher. That night he reportedly wrote in his diary these words: “The Lord shall have all there is of William.” He was working as a pawnbroker apprentice in London at the time and reportedly hated the business. He did, however, get to meet people from all walks of life. He developed a great distaste for poverty, drunkenness, prostitution, homelessness, and any other vices that contributed to the ruining of lives.
In 1861 after only ten years as a Methodist preacher, Willie broke with the Methodist and began his life as an independent revivalist. Growing weary of all of the squalor and suffering he saw in others daily, he decided these folks needed Jesus in the worst kind of way. He began to try to focus his energy and efforts on the down-and-outers on the streets of London. He didn’t just go where they were and preach to them but also began to establish places to meet the needs of the poverty-stricken of the city. He opened homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and even halfway-houses for people released from prison. Over time he even established some job training programs to allow the poverty-stricken to learn a trade.
For years, Booth faced the opposition of the local government until the late 1870s after the government had seen the effects of his work was actually lifting people from their degraded condition. He was then embraced and heralded as a savior of sorts for his work and financial support began to roll in. Willie and his wife went on to establish an army of volunteers that over time helped establish 16000 evangelical centers in 80 countries and also establishing over 3000 welfare institutions, hospitals, schools, and providing preaching in over 112 languages. Not too bad of a resume for a pawnbroker apprentice.
If Willie could do all of that starting at only 25 years old, think about what you can do. When Willie died in August of 1912, there were as many as 150,000 people passed by his casket during the three days he was lying in state. Between 35 thousand and forty thousand attended his funeral. Most of those were the same people he had preached to and rescued from the gutters and alleys of London. From a carpenter’s son to a pawnbroker apprentice he was definitely nothing special. He was just a man with a heart of compassion that did what he could. You now know this young man as Willie. The entire world knows him as General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. Just do what you can. It will make a difference for more than you may ever know. In the words of the late Paul Harvey; “Now you know the rest of the story.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!