Soup, Soap, Salvation Devotion Series, Part 1: SOUP

In the early days of The Salvation Army, William Booth was determined to bring the Gospel to society’s outcasts in the East End of London. As his ministry developed, Booth experienced a growing awareness of the complex nature of poverty and its impact on the life circumstances and life choices of the poor. His response was to find ways of practical support interwoven with the presentation of the Gospel. His intention was not to simply give temporary aid but to help people permanently improve the circumstances of their lives.

Thus, was born the mantra: Soup, Soap, and Salvation. When we feed someone (Soup) and take care of their basic needs and human dignity (Soap), they will be more receptive to the Gospel and love of Christ (Salvation).

In this year’s devotional series, we will dive into these three ideals and how we can use them to glorify Christ.

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be bright as noon.”

Isaiah 58:10

Most of us are fortunate enough not to know much about real hunger and thirst. We might feel famished due to a delayed meal, but our health is not threatened. Jesus, however, knew poverty. He understood the plight of the needy. He fed the 5,000, many of whom had traveled far and had nothing to eat, before continuing to teach. AND, most importantly, He used His disciples as His hands and feet to accomplish this miracle.

The early church also made a point of distributing food to the needy widows in the church. James later makes the point that our words must be supported by action.

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”

James 2:15–16

Today, The Salvation Army remains dedicated to eliminating food insecurity as we work to cure hunger by providing nutritious meals via food pantries and meal assistance. In addition to addressing the immediate symptoms of food insecurity, our programs are designed to help identify AND treat its root cause. Over time, this holistic approach to each person’s physical, mental, and spiritual needs helps move many from “hungry” to “fully healed.”

Invitation to prayer:

“Almighty God, we pray for You to give the hungry daily bread and end their persistent hunger. Provide the food they need to grow and thrive. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Further reading:

Luke 9:1-17
Matthew 25:34-40
I John 3:17-18