Monday, March 20, 2006

Little Pencils and a Writing God

These days I remain challenged by practical needs that remain unmet in the lives of others whilst a participant in a world of people that could sort things out if we would reorient our values to include the well being of others and not only our own comfort.

Talking with a few friends recently, one friend – we’ve been brothers in Christ for more than twenty years which amazes me- told me he was challenged as he contemplated the account of Zacchaeus the tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus. “Who would you climb a tree to see?", he asked. "I mean, I wouldn’t climb a tree and risk looking stupid to see many people”, he said. “Maybe Led Zeppelin or Mother Teresa when she was alive but that’s about it.”, he continued.

Now that’s a contrast – I thought to myself. Led Zeppelin and Mother Teresa... hmm? I would like to have met her too as I remembered a few quotes of hers that I have identified with over the years.

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.

I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.

Jesus said love one another. He didn't say love the whole world.

I really think she got life right and, if we can ever say that she had a tribe, I would pray that her tribe would increase and that I might find myself amongst their number. But my friend knew more thoughts by this faithful sister - quotes about loneliness, love, and the “poverty of the West”.

…I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society - that poverty is so hurtful and so much, and I find that very difficult.

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.

She once said that she was "a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world”. May I too be happy to be a little nub of graphite willing to move on the page in a way that is fruitful in the lives of my friends, enemies, and others and of use in the kingdom of God. To quote a country song I heard a while back, it’s time for “ a little less talk and a lot more action”. Mother Teresa would have agreed – you think?

So, in our collective effort to “feed the hungry” – be it bread or friendship and dignity, here are some parting words from a departed sister in Christ. “If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Good counsel, don’t you agree? So, let’s get started.


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