Dr. Sam Martin
‘By and by when He holds out His hands, Marvelous hands, welcoming hands; By and by when He holds out His hands, I'll wish I had given Him more.’
It was half time and so I decided to wander around the school where the basketball tournament was being played. It was a Catholic school so there were signs, posters with beautiful Christian messages. However I was drawn to a bronze-like statue of a beggar, at least that was my first thought but then I noticed the outreached hand. In itself that would be normal, but then I noticed it had a nail print in it and I realized the beggar was in fact Jesus! This touched me; it caused me to think about the poor and the response of the Lord Jesus to them.
Since I was in a Catholic school, I began to explore more and found quotes from the lips of Mother Teresa and I thought it might be good to share a little about her life, this as an example to each of us. This is from an article on ‘The Quiet Hour Website’.
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. She felt called by God to serve Him as a nun, and at the age of 21 she left her home and went to live in Calcutta, India, as part of a sisterhood of teaching nuns. In her religious life she took the name Sister Mary Teresa.
She taught at a girls’ school until she was 36 years of age. She was a successful teacher who eventually became principal, but as she walked through the dirty streets of Calcutta and saw the appalling poverty in which the poor lived, she began to feel that God was calling her to do more than just teach girls in a private school. She felt that she, personally, was called to do something for the beggars of Calcutta, who lived and died in poverty, dirt, and disease.
Teresa left her teaching ministry and began working directly with the poor and homeless. In 1950 she founded her own religious order, the Missionaries of Charity, whose mission was to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, and all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” It began as a small Order with 12 members in Calcutta. Today one woman’s vision has grown into a worldwide ministry with more than 4,000 nuns running orphanages, AIDS hospices, charity centers worldwide, and caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine all over the world.
But it all began with one person who was touched by the needs she saw around her. One person who was willing to do what others would not do, to go where others did not go. Mother Teresa, as she came to be known around the world, worked tirelessly in her “Home for the Dying” in Calcutta, tending to the needs of the poorest of the poor, those who could never hope to repay her kindness.
What was her motivation? Mother Teresa herself put it quite clearly when she said, “I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”
My friend, what a difference it would make if we could only see God in every human being! And the next time you see the outstretched hand of a beggar, look for the nailprints!