Put Your Ear Down

“‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.”

Those are the now famous words of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army which has been ministering in response to those pitiful wails since 1865. Booth reached out to drunks, prostitutes, and thieves on the London streets. His wife, though living in a time when women had no right to teach or preach or work, became the army Mother and a highly respected preacher and theologian. Their daughter followed likewise, singing and preaching. Joe the Turk discovered the Salvation Army while he was just in his teens; he came to their aid and saved them from violent attackers on multiple occasions before he salvation and joined their ranks.

The stories go on, a few themes recurring. Jesus saves. He saves the undesirables. He calls the unusables. His mission is for everyone.

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