December 7, 2022
From Pastor Joe Wamack
I have had many relationships falter in my life, due to my own shortcomings, because I was only thinking of one person in the relationship and that person was ME with a capital “I.” I guess I need to go see an “I doctor” so I could have clearer vision and learn to see someone other than me, my needs and wants. A selfish heart has destroyed and wasted many potentially good, meaningful relationships for me and others. Yet some seem to have a heart for relationships and somehow put others before themselves. I believe it is a gift from God.
The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 by Methodist minister William Booth. As the ensuing years ticked by, Booth worked himself so long and hard, he eventually found himself sick and enfeebled. Soon after, the Salvation Army was holding an international convention, but General Booth was unable to attend due to his physical ailments. Booth longed to attend and share with his “troops” his heart, ideas and passion for the future of the Salvation Army, but his health would not allow him.
This being before the days of email, Zoom, or even telephone, the only way Booth could communicate with the attendees of the convention was by telegraph or cable. Cables were costly, especially for a man who poured his own money back to the organization. And the cost of a cable grew as the number of words in the cable grew. So how was a poor man to share his message of love and concern via a cable with minimal words and minimal money? He suddenly realized how he could convey his passion for the mission of the Salvation Army and yet not spend much money on a cable. He cabled his convention message to them. It was one word: "OTHERS."
“Others” summed up the mission of the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army existed to serve others.
“Others” also sums up the purpose of entering a helping profession or going on a mission trip. “Others” is shorthand for the mission statement of most hospitals, service organizations and hopefully churches. “Others” reminds us not to focus on ourselves, but to put the focus on someone outside of our own skin.
Perhaps this is one key to healthy, meaningful, interpersonal relationships. If you are feeling alone or unfulfilled, like you can’t keep relationships going, look in the mirror and decide if you like the person you see looking back at you. The Bible reminds us,
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God.” (1 John 4:7).
Especially at this Christmas time of year, we are invited to turn our attention to others-family, friends, and those less fortunate. A heart that reaches out and considers others, is a healthy, satisfied heart. So, in the great tradition of William Booth, as you prayerfully consider the relationships in your life and evaluate if they are good or bad or how they could be better, deeper, richer and more meaningful, I say to you: “others”.