The Improvements of Gifts

From the "War Cry", March 21st, 1885

You must know you have a gift before you can use it. My comrades, examine yourselves. Shake the napkin at every corner. Pray about it. Ask God to show you where any special capacity may lie. How can you tell until you do? You may have the power of speech, so as to be able to shake the souls of men, and yet never know it unless you push yourself to the front, and have a turn in the ring or on the platform.

You may have a soul for music, but how can you find out if you never pick up an instument? There is the gift and opportunity possessed by many of making money. They have the knack of getting wealth, and the providence of God has placed them in a most favourable groove for exercising that gift. What are they to do with this gift? We say, Let them lay themselves out as much FOR GOD AND THE KINGDOM in making money as they would have done had they gone out as Officers.

Let them make money - make it honourably - make it on principles consistent with the welfare of their fellow-men. Let him set an example to money-makers round about him, and the cause of salvation will no longer have to mourn over its inability to compass mankind for want of money.

Suppose a man is by nature an artist. He can sketch: he can make pictures full of life and naturalness and beauty. What is he to do with it ? Neglect it? By no means. Wake it up. Put it on the altar. Jesus Christ shall have the best of everything. I hope to see a daily illustrated Salvation War Cry on my table every morning before I die.

Lastly, my comrades, there is the gift I referred to at the close of my last letter, that gift of gifts - the capacity to love. Come and love poor sinners.

Love the souls of the men and women who are walking past your doors down to despair. Listen to the tramp of the multitudes, who are marching day by day steadily to damnation. And from the necessary concerns of life bring all the sympathies you have to spare, and let them out upon the masses. Come and love the souls of the prisoners whom salvation can rescue for both worlds. Cultivate the best gift, my comrades.

Yours in the front line of the advance,

WILLIAM BOOTH

Taken from HQL-98-22, p. 20