Today Pope Francis declared the sainthood of Mother Teresa, honoring her close to 50 years of service to the poorest of the poor in Kolkata, India. Despite her canonization by the Vatican, she has for decades been referred to as the Saint of the Gutter.
Her ministry, Missionaries of Charity, prioritized “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, 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.” She took seriously and literally the mandate to minister to the leasts, ignored, and overlooked (Mt. 25).
Her life of sacrifice, self-denial, and humble service is in many ways a convicting reminder and rebuke to the American Church.
Do we cater to consumers, focusing too much on comfort, and convenience?
Do we only focus on the attractive, talented, affluent, and dare I say, high capacity?
Is our motive compensation, self-ambition and self-advancement?
Do we define success as attendance, finances, and facilities?
Do we trust in our resumes and rely on our reputations?
Do we fight for the approval of people? Labor for self-glorification?
Do we rely on cheap gimmicks and theatrics to entertain and coddle?
Do we pray because we have needs?
If we were totally honest, would our aim be for building our own kingdoms?
Do we make room upfront for those who can’t afford their seats?
Do we envision the unseen potential in those who have nothing apparently marketable to offer?
Do we believe that everyone has worth? That everyone deserves dignity? And that everyone has God given giftings/abilities?
Is legacy based on faithfulness and obedience?
Do we really seek Him? Do we yearn for God’s direction, provision, correction, and anointing?
Are we desperate for God’s intervention? Reliant on His Spirit? Submitted to His lordship? Aspiring for His glory and renown? Do we assign to Him our highest attention and affection?
Is it really all about Jesus?