It was Christmas Eve, 1910. General William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army in London, England was near the end of his life.
His health was poor, and he was going to be unable to attend the Army’s annual convention. Booth had become an invalid, and his eyesight was failing him. No one knew that he would not live to see another Christmas. Somebody suggested that General Booth send a telegram or a message to be read at the opening of the convention as an encouragement to the many soldiers of the Salvation Army that would be in attendance following Christmas and their many hours of labor ministering to so many others through the holidays and the cold winter months. Booth agreed to do so. Knowing that funds were limited and desiring not to use any more money than necessary so that as much money as possible could be used to help the many people in need...
General Booth decided to send a one word message.
He searched his mind and reviewed his years of ministry, looking for the one word that would summarize his life, the mission of the Army and encourage the others to continue.
When the thousands of delegates met, the moderator announced that Booth would not be able to be present because of failing health and eyesight. Gloom and pessimism swept across the floor of the convention. Then, the moderator announced that Booth had sent a message to be read with the opening of the first session.
He opened the telegram and read the one word message:
This one word message embodies all of those who sacrifice time and resources for our various ministries.
Merry Christmas from Lost Sheep Ministry and the Knoxville Dream Center!
Photo: Christ of the Breadlines (by Fritz Eichenberg)