True greatness is a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others.
It reminds me of a man named Nick and his wife, Drana. She was a homemaker, and Nick was a competent businessman. They had a good-sized house in the decent neighborhood and enough money to make most of their dreams come true. To the casual observer, it was evident that Nick and Drana were going to see their children follow in their footsteps and achieve many of the benefits that a successful adult life has to offer.
But Nick and Drana weren’t content with such trivial goals; they wanted a far more significant life for their kids. They wanted to raise kids who gave back to life much more than they took.
And as parents, they knew that their example carried more clout with their children then their words ever could. That’s why their home was often a stopover for strangers or people who needed a place to regroup. They used their resources to lighten the burden that many unfortunate people around them had to carry.
On top of that, they didn’t see church as a place to merely park and watch on Sunday but as launching point for an attitude of service seven days a week. They sang in the choir and volunteered in church ministries that enabled them to put sweat on their faith.
Their youngest daughter, Agnes, developed an unquenchable longing to use her life to do something that would outlive her. She passionately desired to turn her love for God into actions that affected people for His glory and for their personal good.
Agnes was smart, attractive, and industrious, but these attributes meant little to her. She learned from her parents that the best things you have to offer in life come from your heart, not your head; from your character, not your charm; from your love, not your looks. Her heart spilled over with authentic kindness, and she was willing to put herself at great risk to share that kindness with the people who needed it most.
As a young woman, Agnes decided to devote her life to showing grace and mercy to the “poorest of the poor”—the people nobody else was willing to reach out to. She ministered among the most dangerous criminals and in the worst conditions known to humankind. She loved God and she loved others. Everything about her personal and professional life brought glory to God by bringing hope to as many people as she could.
During her career, she started a movement called the “Sisters of Charity.” She also borrowed the name of an unassuming Catholic nun who believed in the “little way”—working for good by carrying out very simple tasks joyfully. Agnes ended up unintentionally branding this name into everyone’s mind as someone who has lived a life of true greatness. The world knew Agnes as Mother Teresa.
Without setting out to do anything more than love the hard to love, this lady personally touched hundreds of thousands of lives, raised millions of dollars to help the poor, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.
Nick and Drana didn’t aim their daughter at money or fame; they simply raised her to make a difference in the world. The road Mother Teresa took was long, lonely, and often crowded with inexhaustible needs, but it led her to a life of true greatness.
I can hear some of you protesting: “my child is never going to be a Mother Teresa.” Why not? Why do we dream such small dreams and expect so little from our children? Obviously there are no guarantees in life. And I’m not suggesting your child will become the next Mother Teresa. But, then again, she might. Your sons and daughters have the potential of making an extraordinary difference in life. Most kids would love the chance to live their lives for something more than merely what is in it for them.
Used with permission from the book, Raising Kids for True Greatness.