Have you ever heard someone say something that just stopped you in your tracks? I’m not talking about an insult. I’m speaking of words that are so profound that they make you think about your life in a completely different light. That’s exactly how I felt the other day.
We were watching the movie “The Letters” at church. It’s a drama that portrays the life of Mother Teresa as revealed through a series of letters that she wrote to her longtime friend and spiritual adviser, the Rev. Celeste van Exem. It was powerful and reflected her deep faith.
You might think that a person who was so devoted to the Lord would have a hard time being humble. After all, she had given up everything to serve the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. She started and made a name for the Missionaries of Charity. Yet, we know better.
When asked for an interview, she put off the reporter. He tried to sweet talk her. She came out with the response I referenced earlier. She said, “It's not about me. I am just a pencil in God's hand.” I loved it. In other words, it's God's story. God is just using me to share it.
Mother Teresa revealed what the heart of a disciple looks like. As a result it's easy to conclude that the only way to serve God is to go on a mission. We look at her life and say, “That's what we are supposed to do. We need to deny ourselves and do something heroic."
Yet time after time, when asked what we should do, Mother Teresa encouraged people to serve in their own backyard. "Be faithful in the small things," she would say. "For it is in them that your strength lies." She called us to love the people that God put in our paths.
"I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor," she said. "Love begins at home, and it's not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action." Sounds a bit like Jesus who said we are to love our neighbors and to love God. That's our calling.
Valentine's Day is here. Why not take Mother Teresa's advice and do something special? She said, "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." So be a pencil. Let God use you to write a love letter in the hearts of all you meet.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly.