A Life That Matters
Listen to Audio (right click to save)
She was one of the most admired women in the world - Mother Teresa, that angelic woman who devoted her life to the least of the least in the slums of Calcutta, India. The world's greatest leaders wanted to meet her and to experience her love and her moral authority; just a diminutive woman who made such a difference in the world. Some years ago, a young man wrote a letter to Mother Teresa, asking her how he could make his life count as she had with hers. He waited six months for a reply from this very busy lady. When it came, it was just a postcard with four words on it - four very powerful words - "Find your own Calcutta."
If you do just what comes naturally, you'll live the kind of life most people do - self-focused, self-centered, self-serving. But a life that's only as big as you are is too small to live in. And you may be feeling that emotional and spiritual claustrophobia right now. Business as usual just isn't satisfying that restlessness in your heart. Your life is full, but not really fulfilling. Find your own Calcutta. Find some people who need you and start pouring your life out for them. The lid will come off your life.
Jesus gave us an immortal, indelible picture of the two ways to live life in His classic story of the Good Samaritan. It's in Luke 10, beginning in verse 30, our word for today from the Word of God. "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side" - as, by the way, did another religious leader who came by next.
Jesus goes on: "But a Samaritan...came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds...He put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him." Jesus went on to say that the Samaritan paid all the expenses of the beaten man's recovery; and that this Samaritan was the kind of neighbor that He expects all of us to be.
And there in that simple story is a picture of your lifestyle - all about yourself, ignoring the needs of people in your path...or all about yourself, stopping for people's needs, bearing the burdens of a bleeding world. I was really touched by a news report about a man whose choice may help you step up to a life that makes a far greater difference.
I'm quoting from USA Today: "David Townsend's perspective changed profoundly on September 11th. That's in 2001 at the World Trade Center, altering the direction of his life. 'From that moment forward, I realized that we are not going to live forever,' says Townsend, 37, of Indianapolis. 'I felt an even greater sense of urgency, felt compelled to leave my mark on the world. It has changed my outlook totally and shaken me to the core.' Townsend has left his job to work in social services, with the homeless and with urban churches... 'September 11th reinforced in me (he said) the need to live a life that matters."
I believe that's the kind of life you want. So learn to wake up each morning asking, "Who needs me today?" not "Who can meet my needs today?" There are people in your personal circle - people in your community - who desperately need someone to care. Be there for them. And remember, there is no greater difference you can make in someone's life than to introduce them to Jesus Christ and to take them to heaven with you!
With however many or few years you have left, live to make the greatest possible difference with the rest of your life!