Let Self Go

Some years ago a very proper English woman died in London, who was said to be the best-dressed lady in all Europe. She possessed one thousand expensive dresses, scores of hats, and many, many pairs of shoes. Yes, she had a thousand gorgeous frocks, but eyes that saw not the needs of millions of half-clothed people about her. Hundreds of dresses, but ears deaf to the cries of distress and suffering on every side. Shoes she could not wear but once a year, but heedless of the millions of hungry, helpless, and almost hopeless bare-footed souls nearby. Thousands of garments to clothe a body without a heart for those in need.

     In the same city, lived a man who had only one suit of clothes, a plain, dark-blue suit, with a red collar about the neck. This man was Bramwell Booth, leader of the Salvation Army. He had only one suit, but he lived a thousand lives. Every day he spent in ministry to the poor of London. He was concerned about clothing, fuel, and food for the poor and suffering in that great metropolis. Through his unselfish service he reached out and touched others and led them to God.

     One person, with a thousand lovely, expensive dresses, lived one empty and self-focused life. Another, with only one suit of clothes, lived a thousand lives in that he reached down and out to bless thousands, yes, millions, of needy, helpless men and women, even well beyond his years of life on this earth.

One lived for self; the other forgot self and gave his all for the uplifting and blessing of others. When asked the secret of his success, General Booth said it was because God had been given all there was of him.

     The size of our bank account, the number of garments in our wardrobe, the number of shoes in our shoe rack, our position in society, do not determine our usefulness. Tangible things may be used wholly for our own selfish aggrandizement, or they may be given away for the good of many other souls.

     Mankind shall remember us, and heaven too, not by what we were able to accumulate for our own interests and personal use, but by what we gave, by what passed through our hands for the help and blessing of other souls.
—By C. L. Paddock, Our Times, May 1948