Thursday, June 12, 2014

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa

When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a King because a king could do anything he wanted and everybody had to obey him.  As I got older and began to read history and to watch and to read Shakespeare’s plays about kings, I no longer wanted to be one.  They may have had power, but hardly absolute, and had all kinds of trouble with palace intrigues, arranged marriages, the murder of those who wanted the throne, and many other horrible things.  There were few good kings, and none who had the kind of power I wanted, so I shifted to want to be Superman.  Unfortunately, there was Kryponite, Lex Luthor, and lots of other problems because he couldn’t save everyone all the time.  Wyatt Earp seemed like a good guy to be like until I read his biography.  All of my heroes had feet of clay and none had the kind of power I wanted.  What I didn’t realize, and didn’t really grasp until I was in my mid-forties, was that while I didn’t have the power myself, I had the ability to tap into the highest power in the universe.  I also learned that sometimes the greatest power came in choosing not to use it.  There is a terrific moral story told in a scene in the Harrison Ford movie “Witness” where some Amish teens are being bullied.  Ford, playing an L.A. cop got mad and beat a bully to a pulp.  He stood over the bloodied and beaten bully with blood on his hands trying to slow his breathing when one of the Amish teens leaned over and asked him, “Who won?”  The power was in turning the other cheek, not responding to evil with evil.  The truth is that Mother Teresa knew (see quote above) that the greatest power on earth comes from doing “small things with great love.”  The blog yesterday partially recorded how our own grand plans went awry (because they were OUR plans and not God’s) and how, bit by bit, little things have become very big things.  A cup of hot porridge is not a great thing, but in the hands of a hungry orphan, it becomes one of those small things done with love.  I have said it often enough, you would think I would believe it, but it always still surprises me that all God wants is for us to do what we can, where we are, with what we have.  These “small things” have transformed our mission and ourselves, and, what shouldn’t surprise us but still does, brings with them great joy.  If I am feeling depressed (which is a common occurrence among missionaries), all I have to do is walk the fifty feet up to where the preschool is meeting and spend just five minutes with those four-year-old orphans and my heart is lifted within me.  It’s better than a whole handful of Prozac.  We have planted and are planting so many tiny seeds, it is sometimes hard to remember that they will grow into “great things” that we will most probably never see.  Karen is trying to reintroduce yellow sweet potatoes here.  They used to have them but have disappeared over the years.  The white sweet potatoes that have replaced them have almost no nutrition while the yellow are full of vitamins and other good things.  A man who works with medicinal plants was here the other day, and I gave him a biosand filter for his home.  He asked how he could thank me and I suggested his helping Karen get her yellow sweet potato project going and spread throughout the area.  He leaped to his feet with joy, and said, “I can, and I will.  Everyone will win!”  A small thing done with great love has more power than a king or Superman.  Just took me almost seventy years to learn that simple truth.  I pray you learn it sooner than I did.  God bless all of you who do “small things with great love.”
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