One of my favorite people in history was William Booth. Booth was a man given to and used mightily by God. As founder of the Salvation Army, General Booth was constantly pouring his life out for the needs of others. He had a tremendous burden for lost souls; and it was frequent that he and his wife would minister and serve the poor all day and then spend a good portion of the night in prayer.
He once stated: “I will tell you the secret: God has had all that there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, even with greater opportunities, but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with me and them, on that day I made up my mind that God should have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.”
That is how each and every one of us should be living. A life fully surrendered and given over to Jesus.
But this begs the question of my focus. I want to be fully given and surrendered but I find so often that the focus of my life and heart are upon myself. If I am to live in constant communion, oneness, and intimacy with Christ, if I am going to be used as his vessel to minister to this lost and dying world, then my focus must be upon Him and the people around me.
Let me give you two quick stories from William Booth’s life.
Late in his life, William Booth had lost his eyesight. His son Bramwell was given the difficult task of telling his father there would be no recovery. “Do you mean that I am blind?” Booth inquired.
“I hear we must contemplate that,” his son replied.
The father continued, “I shall never see your face again?”
“No, probably not in this world.”
“Bramwell,” said his loving father, “I have done what I could for God and for His people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God without my eyes.”
I will let one of Booth’s biographers tell the other story:
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 on.
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:
Signed, General Booth.
Where is your focus? Is it stayed upon the Lord Jesus Christ with intense focus? Are you allowing Him to open your eyes to the world around you so He can meet needs and minister to people through you? Perhaps it is time for you to spend time with Jesus and allow Him to retune your focus.
Question: What do you find is the hardest thing in your life that keeps you from a steady focus on Jesus? What causes you distraction? Leave a comment in the section below.