Thank You, General!


“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'” — Matthew 25:34-36

“I seemed to hear a voice sounding in my ears, ‘Where can you go and find such heathen as these, and where is there so great a need for your labors?'” — William Booth (1829-1912)

William Booth was a remarkable man, who was given the title “The Prophet of the Poor.” He is best known today as founder and first General of the Salvation Army. After he died in London, 150,000 people filed by the casket, and 40,000, including Queen Mary, attended his funeral. It was a remarkable end for a man born into poverty and who worked in the midst of poverty his whole life.

Booth was single-minded in his zeal. He once said, “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight—while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, where there remains one dark soul without the light of God—I’ll fight! I’ll fight to the very end!”*

He was also a hymn writer. Here’s one of his very best that speaks of not only his zest for God but the realization of his need for the Holy Spirit. Let it be our cry as well:



Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood-bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire!

Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire!

To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire,
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire!

For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire!

O see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the offering now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire! — Amen.

*Christian History, Issue 26

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