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What Is The Difference Between Mother Teresa And You?



On March 13 I described the New York Times article by editor Nicholas Kristof about Steve Foster, tirelessly serving Angolans in that nation for the last thirty-seven years. What’s the difference between Mother Teresa, you, Foster, or any number of others? Thousands of dedicated individuals are persevering, often at great personal cost, in effective service towards humanity. Chances are good that you know such a person. Chances are also good that outside of that person’s immediate community few others are aware of his or her exemplary deeds.


So why are Mother Teresa and her Sisters of Charity recognized throughout the world? Part of the answer is consistency. In 1952, Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying in Calcutta. By 1996, forty-four years later, she was operating 517 missions in more than 100 countries. But her fame as an international celebrity took root in large part from the 1969 book and film documentary Something Beautiful for God, produced by Malcolm Muggeridge.


To the benefit of the world Muggeridge discovered Mother Teresa, just like news reporter Henry Stanley uncovered David Livingstone in Tanzania, and New York Times editor Nicholas Kristof recognized Steve Foster. As a person who aspires to aid humanity should such publicity be pursued? Not necessarily. Many resonate with the statement in Matthew 6:3-4, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” But neither should such exposure be shunned. Few personal motivators are as powerful as an outstanding role model. I myself am a prodigy of Steve Fosters’ example.

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