“Others!” This one word was the entire contents of a Christmas telegram sent by Salvation Army founder, General William Booth, in the early 1900s to encourage Army leaders around the world.
Booth could not afford to send a telegram containing a long message to his officers around the world. So his entire message needed to be reduced to a single word. This word needed to encourage, inspire and direct. In those early days of the Army, his officers didn’t need to be reminded to put Jesus first. They were all on fire with passionate love for Christ.
However, at that time, social services was secondary to saving souls and proclaiming the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. William Booth did not want The Salvation Army to forget about needs of those they were ministering to spiritually.
Booth put it this way: “But what is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated on a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive.” So with one word, “Others!” General Booth reminded the officers to be like Christ and to think of and serve others and their physical needs.
But what about today? What if William Booth was going to send out a one-word text message today to Salvation Army Officers? Well, nowadays the Army is known for its social and disaster services, but many people don’t know that passionate love for Jesus is the driving force behind those services.