So let’s pretend for just a second. Let’s use our imagination instead of electronics. You have just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for something amazing you did. The world is looking at your great feats; they finally recognize your greatness. You are awarded something like $190,000. So what do you do? How do you react to everyone’s gracious compliments? How do you react to those wishing to honor you?
Me? I’d pay off my bills and I’d share it with my children and I’d put some in the bank for my grandchildren’s education and I would….whoa! Wait a minute. Where is asking God what He’d want you to do with it at?
Mother Teresa of Calcutta won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. Her winnings came to approximately $190,000. What she did with it is really far beyond us.
“I am unworthy,” Mother Teresa said in Calcutta on hearing that she had been selected by the five-member Nobel
Committee of the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo. But, she said, because she is “more aware of the
condition of the poor,” she plans to use the money, the equivalent of $190,000,
to build more homes for the destitute, “especially for the lepers.”
How many of us would think of others before we thought of ourselves? If we did I am sure it would be our family and friends, not the down and out. The first thing that popped out at me is my pride. Some of her first words were, “I am unworthy.” How many times have I thought that what I did was really something and it should be recognized? You can hear me saying, “You know I have put a lot of work into this and no one noticed. I think I deserve a little something.” Not Mother Teresa. Even though she worked tirelessly she never once did it for praise or recognition. She did it because she saw a need and wanted to be God’s hands and feet. Galatians 6:3 reminds us, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” God has had to deal with me in the past with my pride issue and even though I am so much better than I was, I am certainly not a Mother Teresa. She saw a need, she saw people who were being overlooked or neglected and she took it upon herself to care enough to help. She knew it wasn’t all about her; it was all about what she could do to ease the pain of others. Forgive me God when I think it is all about me.
I am sure there were some that thought she should keep some of the money for herself; maybe just a little. I am sure Mother Teresa lived in very simple conditions.
But even as she hobnobbed with the world’s most powerful and wealthy people, Mother
Teresa’s priorities remained with the “the poorest of the poor.” She chose to serve
God by showering attention on the most destitute, most outcast, most ill members of society.
And to her, serving the poor meant living like the poor, without possessions and modern comforts.
(Taken from an article about her death)
My house is anything but a mansion. My furniture is modest and my vehicles are fairly new. Yet, in Mother Teresa’s eyes I probably am rich. She needed little because she wanted little. My focus today is on maintaining those things I think I have to have. My focus in on having wonderful flower beds, a well-kept home, and the latest electronics and the list could go on. Her focus was on those who were neglected, lonely and the lost. Mother Theresa taught us when you focus on people and not things life changes. I am reminded of the passage in Matthew 25: 44-45, “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” Forgive me God for not serving you more.
She knew how to be content with what she had and in her circumstances. It wasn’t she couldn’t get more she just didn’t need more to be happy. I bet Mother Teresa took this verse to heart, “I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little.” Philippians 4:12 So many of us today are not happy with what we have. We always want more. If we could learn to live as simple as Mother Theresa and lived the life she did, how much happier would we be? Forgive me God for my greed.
While looking up some facts on the internet I came across this from her. It’s worth sharing. This is her 7 steps to a holier life. Slow down, make some room, open your eyes, put great love into small things, do not tire, remember its faithfulness not success, and leave the rest to Jesus. At the end she suggests give yourself five minutes each morning to read these again. Following are her descriptions for each one.
Slow down–“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.”
Make some room–“If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own power. Your self-sufficiency, your selfishness and your intellectual pride will inhibit His coming to live in your heart because God cannot fill what is already full. It is as simple as that.”
Open your eyes– “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
Put great love into the small things. “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
Do not tire. “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”
Remember – its faithfulness, not success. “God doesn’t ask that we succeed in everything, but that we are faithful. However beautiful our work may be, let us not become attached to it. Always remain prepared to give it up, without losing your peace.”
Leave the rest to Jesus. “Be humble and you will never be disturbed. It is very difficult in practice because we all want to see the result of our work. Leave it to Jesus.”
God has placed Saints on earth for us to learn from. God has given us examples of people’s lives we should emulate. We have a choice to learn from these folks and take to heart what they are teaching and receive some of life’s greatest blessings or we can turn away never knowing the peace and joy that comes from serving, loving God.
Mother Teresa got it right. I will never be a Mother Teresa, but I can do my part in my little corner of the world. Won’t you join me?
Dear God: Thank you for people like Mother Theresa not only for her work but also for her example. Thank you for men like John Wesley and all the others that have taught us how to live a more Godly life in you. Let me write these teachings on my heart and apply them to my life. Open my eyes to the needs around me open my ears to the voices of those crying out in need. Open my hands that I may not only receive but I give as I receive. Help me to pour out love for others as you have loved me. May I be your vessel today and in the years left. Amen