So, I just finished reading “Something Beautiful for God”, (If I was savvy, I would put a link here which would lead to Amazon and every time one of you followed it and made a purchase, Amazon would reward me with something like 20 cents. But I couldn’t figure out how – where are my geeks when I need them?) which is a book by Malcolm Muggeridge about Mother Theresa and the Sisters of Charity. I’ve been trying to write a blog about it. I don’t usually write about the books I am reading (at least not directly) and it’s been completely unwieldy. So I decided to write about how it is influencing the way I view people and the way I treat people and use it as my entry into Robert Hruzek’s change yourself/change the world challenge.
One of the things in the book that struck me forcibly was the elegant simplicity of the ministry of M. Theresa and her sisters. Their philosophy of ministry is based on Matthew 25 (see below). They believe that anytime they feed the hungry or clothe the naked they are feeding and clothing Christ. And what wouldn’t they do to show their love for the One who gave all for them.
She says of the Sisters’ joyful, patient service – what would be complete drudgery to you and to me, “They want to give to God eveything. They know very well it is to Christ the hungry and Christ the naked and Christ the homeless that they are doing it. And this conviction and this love is what makes the giving a joy. That’s why you see the sisters are very happy. They are not forced to be happy. They are naturally happy because they feel that they have found what they have looked for.”
Muggeridge goes on to say that after spending a few days with the sisters, he went from pitying the poor and destitute people that they served to realizing that they were, in his words, “quite marvelous people.” I think he stopped seeing people and started seeing individuals.
One day I had been thinking about the book and also Hruzek’s challenge and I walked by someone in a parking lot that may have needed help. I didn’t stop. It wasn’t a straight-forward situation, I’m not sure they needed help and it could have been embarrassing or possibly even a bit dangerous, but that’s no excuse. Someone might have needed help, help I could give, and I walked by. And later I was ashamed of myself for not stopping. I’m a helper by nature. And if I don’t stop . . . who will?
A couple days later, in a different parking lot, I saw someone I thought might need help, and I walked by. And then I stopped and thought, “This is one little way that I can change myself and change the world.” And I turned around. And I offered my help. And it was gratefully received.
And I’m going to keep stopping. Not just when I feel comfortable. Not just when I have time. Not just when it’s convenient. And not just because it makes me feel good.
I’m going to try to remember that what matters on this earth is how you treat the people around you. When I’m done here I want to be able to say that I did everything I could to help, to encourage, and to uplift all those who came within my sphere of influence. I want to treat people the way Jesus treated them, with love and with respect, in a way that honored and cherished, in a way that brought help and hope.
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’