It's important as Christians to take inventory of our lives and ask this question: “What have we done to make this a different world?”
Some time ago I had the privilege of intersecting with two ministries that are literally worlds apart but share something. Both have made this a different world.
The first ministry is that of the late Mother Teresa. My admiration for her life and ministry to humankind runs deep. Her story is simple but profound. While riding a train one day, this native Albanian received what she would later refer to as a, “call within a call.”
The first time she heard God speak, it was to love and serve Him all her days. The second call was more specific. It would not only be to serve the poor in His name, but live among them. How this would all come together for Mother Teresa became an adventure in faith and hard work.
I have been to India several times but this was my first trip to Calcutta. There are no small cities in India, but Calcutta is staggering. At its greatest expanse, it is a populous of nearly 18 million people.
My host set aside time on my brief layover there to visit three places. My first stop was Mother Teresa’s home for the destitute and dying. It is hard to comprehend this scene. From the streets and back alleys they come, not to be healed, but to die with dignity.
They are cared for not only by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity but also by volunteers from across the globe. Everyone does what they can to help those who have lived in such squalid conditions rest in peace. Love, more than disease and death, fills the room. It was a moving experience.
That particular home in Calcutta is well known. What many may not realize is this great work of compassion now extends itself to over 100 countries, including Iraq, where it has been established for some time.
Next, I visited Mother Teresa’s orphanage. I was allowed to go in and look around; however, for health and safety reasons, the children are not allowed to be held. This is not an easy policy to abide. The contrast between the orphanage and the home for the destitute and dying is striking in many ways. The home is an ending—the orphanage a beginning.
Finally, I come to the burial site and memorial for Mother Teresa. It is referred to as the “Mother House.” This is where I read the story of the two “calls.”
It is hard to imagine what this world would look like had Mother Teresa not accepted the second call. Her obedience is an example for us all. She loved and served Jesus Christ faithfully, and her prayers made the mission a reality. This reach and influence is immeasurable.
During the summer, I had the privilege of meeting Phil Busbee, pastor of a church in San Francisco. Many people “talk” and “write” about ministry from a distance. This is someone who lives each day on its front line.
Pastor Busbee is a self-effacing leader and would not seek publicity for this work. Nevertheless, his story is worth telling. Plus he represents scores who minister each day out of sight and in unfavorable circumstances.
He is afflicted with physical suffering that at times has been life threatening. Yet, for him, there is a greater concern than his personal health. What weighs more in Phil Busbee’s life is this: A burden and passion for people who inhabit San Francisco’s 49 square miles, but do not know Christ.
This is a great city filled with great need.
The congregation where Phil Busbee has served the past several years provides worship and outreach to its community against all odds. It is a light shining on a hill.
I was touched by his spirit and courage. He is a discomforting reminder of something: The need to be faithful wherever we are placed.
What do Mother Teresa and Phil Busbee have in common? Each took seriously the call to be like Christ. The more they conformed to His will and way, the more they have made their world different.
We can go to church and should. Conferences can be helpful. We can read inspiring books and listen to CDs or tapes produced by spiritual leaders. These all have their place. But skipping Christlikeness is not an option. Being formed over time in the image of our Lord is an absolute requirement in order that this world is different.
As Mother Teresa learned early on, and as Phil Busbee knows very well, it is “. . . ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord.”
by Russ Bredholt, Jr
President, Bredholt & Co.
Note: This article originally appeared in, Explorer, the online newsletter of Leadership Network. Mr. Bredholt can be reached at
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