“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)
This month we celebrate the 2021 National Salvation Army Week from Monday, May 10 - Friday, May 14. As we thought about a way to celebrate The Salvation Army here in Pickens County, Brenda and I got talking and brainstorming. We asked ourselves, what is The Salvation Army of Pickens County about? What is it that are we celebrating?
It didn’t take long to arrive at what seems to be the perfect answer, all wrapped up in just six letters. Brenda was quick to share with me the “one-word telegram” sent in 1910 by General William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army. It was Christmas Eve and funds were extremely limited. General Booth felt compelled to send an encouraging message to a convention of other Salvation Army soldiers. Telegrams were charged by the letter, therefore short and simple was essential in order to save cost. And so the telegram delivered a powerful message with only one word, “others!” You can read the brief story of the one-word telegram by clicking here.
At The Salvation Army of Pickens County, we want to embrace the spirit of General Booth’s telegram. Our calling is to love others, and our purpose is found in serving others. And so what an obvious choice it is to theme the National Salvation Army Week this year: Others. We are going to use the week to serve other organizations and individuals here in Pickens County. Keep an eye out to see photos and read about our efforts throughout the week as we serve at a different location each day.
For me personally, the value of choosing to see and to serve others has changed my life. Growing up I was focused on doing things for myself and other folks seemed to just be in my way, holding me back or somehow an obstacle to what I wanted to accomplish for myself. In truth, I was not happy. I was on a path of monetary success at the time, but my spirit and my joy were at a low. It was not until I made a conscious choice to volunteer time in helping others that I found my joy and my purpose in life. My joy, my purpose is found in serving others.
The value I receive from the people who come across my path has increased tremendously. The folks I used to get upset with as a nuisance, now are friends and neighbors I stop and speak with. The human touches of listening to each other’s stories and sharing our common ground brings fulfillment and contentment.
I do not live to serve myself anymore. I have more carefree laughter and a truer appreciation for God’s grace in my life. I see value in the example of Christ who tells me that he came to the world to serve others, not to be served. There is wisdom in those words and there is freedom in those words.
How about you? Are you living to serve, to love others in your life? Your neighbors, your spouse, your siblings, your family? Do you feel a purpose, a calling to look outside of yourself and see/hear those around you? Maybe like me, you might find those folks you think are in your way are actually your path to peace, joy and freedom.
To God be the glory.
Yours in Christ,
The Salvation Army of Pickens County
Service Center Director