I’m pretty sure the only thing “small” about Mother Teresa’s life was her stature. Nearly 50 years of sacrificially serving the “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for” hardly seems to qualify as doing “small things.” But there’s certainly no doubt that this diminutive nun, honored in 1979 with the Nobel Peace Prize, was filled with great love for the poorest of India’s poor.
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you head to Calcutta and take a vow of poverty (although health insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays may leave you feeling as if you have!). But I am encouraging you to ask God to show you some small things you can do with great love. No matter how uncertain or bleak life looks, I guarantee you it will become brighter as you reach out in love to others in need.
Cindi, a cancer survivor who lives in the shadow of recurring granulosa cell tumors, says she wakes up each day “knowing my life is very different than most people.
“I’m either overwhelmed with thankfulness for still being alive six years past my diagnosis or just the opposite, and I am overwhelmed with fear that I might not be here for my daughter in the future,” she explains.
“The way I try to cope with it is to live outside myself,” she says. “It really helps to get out of my own crisis and reach out and love someone else. I try to offer acts of kindness toward others—visits, cards, small gifts.”
Cindi says she doesn’t have money or energy to do big things for others so one day she bought a bunch of $3 plants at Aldi discount grocery and gave them to folks who “needed cheering up.” Another day she and her daughter delivered bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies to friends going through hard times.
“I would say everyone who got them cried,” Cindi recalls. “You think you’re going to bless this person, but you walk away blessed. The Lord has given me several opportunities to encourage others and in so doing, I’m the one who has been encouraged.”
I realize it might not sound logical, but the next time you are feeling anxious or worried or discouraged or overwhelmed, try living outside yourself. Ask God to show you even one small thing you could do with great love for another person who is going through a hard time.
“Come be My light” were the words Mother Teresa heard Jesus speak to her heart as He called her to minister to the poor.
I believe He whispers those same words to all of us today—cancer survivors and caregivers included.
Come be My light to someone else feeling the darkness. Come be My light even if you think your light is a small one, it is better than no light at all. Come be My light because when you shine it with great love, it is sure to be a blessing.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.
God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.
If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?
I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!
Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 The Message Bible
Excerpted from Peace in the Face of Cancer. Copyright 2017 by Lynn Eib.
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