Ever since I have been a Christian I have felt this tug on my heart and a sense of action needing to be taken. Whether I was walking strongly with the Lord, or if I had taken a selfish turn away from Him, that sense of calling never left me. It is something I think we all feel if we really take a good look at our hearts and I think it is by design. Mother Theresa has long been someone that has inspired me to live more closely to how Christ has called us to live; selflessly. While reading her book “No Greater Love”, she really helped me to refocus, once again, on the importance of living out our calling.
In the United States, we are in a position where we live in the excess constantly. We have excess food, resources, money, and even excess opportunity. We often see ourselves as untouchable, however, in almost every situation, we are completely unaware of the immense blessings we have and yet, still do not use them to bless others. We have become hoarders of blessings, of love, respect, and even of the Gospel. I know that this may sound harsh, and I myself often get told that I am overly critical of myself. However, I do not see it as criticism…. I see it as a call to action and a wonderful opportunity for us all to take up the TRUE meaning of what being a Christ follower is! Mother Theresa said that “There are thousands of people who would love to have what we have, yet God has chosen us to be where we are today to share the joy of loving others. He wants us to love one another, to give ourselves to each other until it hurts. It does not matter how much we give, but how much love we put into our giving.” I have never thought about giving…. “Until it hurts”. That is a degree of love that instantly makes me uncomfortable…. I don’t like it…. but I have no doubt that the work the Lord could do through someone as minimal as me could be MIRACULOUS, IF I could give of myself this much!
Other religions even recognize that if we were living out Christian lives as Christ has designed, then they would be unable to deny the power of the cross! That says something! How powerful this change could be, and it would be simply through us losing the focus of ourselves and putting it in those who need Love in action. Mother Theresa got a quote from Gandhi that confirms this, he said “If Christians were to live their Christian Lives to the fullest, there would not be one Hindu left in India.” Wow. People are admittedly desperate for Christ! Are we going to be too selfish to give them that promise, something that is not ours to even withhold? This flips the script when viewed from this action based standpoint. Do you feel that burn in you yet? If not…. you will.
I want to make sure that I am not confusing things here. There is nothing wrong with the American Dream. We all have to work and take care of our families. Working hard to do so is not a bad trait or even desire. In fact, that is our first step in being disciples, caring for those who are nearest to us. However, I think that the American dream has morphed from bettering the generations to come and stumbled into the pit of Pride and Selfishness. Focusing our love on those nearest to us with the intention of serving is amongst the most hardest of our callings. However, Mother Theresa explicitly used a viewpoint that really changed how I looked at serving those who are nearest to me. “Since we do not see Christ we cannot express our love to him. But we do see our neighbor, and we can do for him what we would do for Christ if He were visible. Let us be open to God, so that He can use us. Let us put love into action. Let us begin with our family, with our closest neighbors. It is difficult, but that is where our work begins.” This statement is what started to crumble down the lies that I had been fed… and the lies that I have started to believe.
As a mother I am aware of the war against our roll in our home and with in our families. Mother’s are under the microscope no matter what she chooses to do and how she chooses to mother. Yet, the reality is, is that mothers are in a wonderful position to live out the life of a Christ follower in a beautiful way. Who serves more than a mother? This reinstated how important my role to my family is…. and the Legacy my husband and I hope to leave to our next generations. This movement will start with me, being present in our family as someone who puts love into all of my actions. “Mothers are at the heart of the family.” How powerful is a mother who helps children build foundations of love and selflessness into their lives? This is a powerful calling, calling to change the values of the World.
It is so easy to get caught up in “Getting ahead”, in the “Prosperity Gospels” that are spread all over this generation, the “Get Rich Quick” Schemes, and they all feed into one thing: Ego. These ideals create “Work-a-holics” that do not spend time with their families, or serving the Body of Christ! “Do not pursue spectacular deeds. We must deliberately renounce all desires to see the fruit of our labor, doing all we can as best we can, leaving the rest in the hands of God. What matters is the gift of yourself, the degree of love you put into each one of your actions.” I love that Mother Theresa deflates that whole mentality by revealing the Truth that God is the one who deserves all the Glory because… well, He is the one in control and he controls what bears good fruit! I had a dear friend tell me that God’s will is “None of my Business”, it is my job to be faithful and continue serving the Body of Christ in every way I can. I still have to tell my self “ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS BRAIN!” That helps me to move on and allow God to do the work He needs to without me getting in the way. Mother Theresa went on to examine that, “Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches. Children have very little time for their parents and parents have very little time for their children and for each other. So the breakdown of peace in the World begins at home.” I do no believe that this means to stop being ambitious, or intentional about your goals in life. In fact, those things are very good, so long as you are doing them with a heart full of love and you’re focus is to serve others and glorify God.
Being called to live this way should not make us sad, or make us feel deflated. In fact, there is a tremendous sense of purpose and joy in realizing how important this work really is! Mother Theresa encouraged me when she wrote, “Jesus is going to great things with you if you let Him, and if you don’t try to interfere with Him. We interfere with God’s plans when we push in someone or something else not suitable for us. Be strict with yourself, and then be very strict with what you are receiving from the outside. People may come with wonderful ideas, with beautiful things, but anything that takes you away from the reality of what you have given to God must remain outside.” This, I believe extends into our careers, our social circles, and our extra curricular choices. There are so many decisions that come across our tables, but they are people or things that do not push us along the path that serves the Lord most closely. If this happens then we need to take a pass and choose to not take it on board in our life! This is a REALLY hard thing to do, and something I honestly feel cannot be done apart from the Holy Spirit and intense prayer. However, when done to its full extent resisting things that are not for our lives as a Christ follower is extremely liberating, and I know makes God smirk.
The beauty in all of this is that God loves us, NO MATTER WHAT. And NOTHING can separate us from that love. Even if we stay exactly as we are we are able to access eternal life, and forgiveness and an amazingly intimate relationship with Christ if we want it. Mother Theresa revealed her angst for following Christ by admitting, “With our will that is whole I will love God, I will opt for Him, I will run toward Him, I will reach Him, I will possess Him. But it all depends on these words: “I want” or “I do not want”. I have to pour all of my energy into “I want.”” We do not HAVE to live out the Gospel, it is free for the taking. But if we truly believe in the power of the Gospel and what Christ has called us to do, and what He has already done for us on the Cross then how could we not want to spend our lives sharing that with others, and loving on our brothers and sisters in this world? They go hand in hand, I know now that one cannot exist with out the other. “We are collaborators with Christ, fertile branches on the vine.” This work is not easy, and the enemy will be absolutely be out to stop you, but we cannot be discouraged if we feed our fire with the word of the Lord and a faithfulness that cannot be broken. Mother Theresa urged her readers that, “What we need is to love without getting tired. How does a lamp burn? Through the continuous input of small drops of oil. What are these drops of oil in our lamps? They are small things of daily life: faithfulness, small words of kindness, a thought for others, our way of being silent, of looking, of speaking,and of acting”, and “Let nothing disturb us, so fill us with sorrow or discouragement, as to make us forfeit the joy of the resurrection.” These two statements really set that vision and yearning in me a blaze! I hope it does the same to you!
I hope that this encourages you to honor this life by using your amazing gifts and passions from God to expand the kingdom! No matter who you are or what you do, you are someone of amazing value, and your life was designed to touch the lives of others and give them a joy that in turn gives them strength! Don’t wait to live out this calling! I had a friend who was told that her spiritual gift was Joy (It radiated from her, and was undeniably from The Lord), but she felt like that was not a powerful gift. But I hope that her, along with all of you (and even myself) truly can meditate on the power of a being a Joyful giver….. of ourselves. We have the power to strengthen one another, and to truly raise each other up to be warriors! And it all starts with Love.
“I shall keep the silence of my heart with greater care, so that in the silence of my heart I hear His words of comfort from the fullness of my heart I comfort Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor.” -Mother Theresa
“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” -Jesus Luke 22.27 RSV
Have Grit Mighty Ones,
Prayer “O Jesus”
You who suffer, grant that, today and everyday
I may be able to see you in the person of your sick ones
and that, by offering them my care, I may serve you.
Grant that, even if you are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, of crime, or of madness
I may recognize you and say, “Jesus you who suffer, how sweet it is to serve you.”
Give me, Lord, this vision of faith, and my work will never be monotonous, I will find
joy in harboring the small victims and desire of all the poor who suffer.
Dear sick one, you are still more beloved to me
because you represent Christ. What a privilege I am granted in being able to take care of you!
O God, since you are Jesus who suffers, deign to be for me also a Jesus who is patient, indulgent with my faults
who looks only at my intentions, which are to love you
and to serve you in the person in of these children of yours who suffer
Lord, Increase my faith. Bless my efforts and my work, now and forever.