Doing Small Things With Great Love

In response to my last blog – “The Inner Life of Leaders,” Gary Morsch posted this comment:

Your post reminds me of a quote from Mother Teresa: “We’re not called to success, but to faithfulness.” Mother Teresa will be canonized on September 4th at a mass in Rome, and, just a few days ago, I received an invitation from the Mother House in Kolkata to attend the ceremonies in Rome.

Dr. Morsch is a family practice physician, founder and board chairman of Heart to Heart International, an organization responding to global disasters with medical supplies and personnel.

Gary_&_Mother_TeresaAs a young doctor he volunteered to serve with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.   Recently I heard him tell the story of his first assignment there.   He had gone expecting to provide medical care to the dying welcomed by the Missionaries of Charity.   Upon his arrival Mother Teresa met him and after he introduced himself as a medical doctor she gave him a note to take to one of the sisters who would direct him to his assignment.

He was sent to the “House of the Dying” but not for the job he had expected. To his surprise Mother Teresa gave directions for him to haul a large pile of garbage to the city dump. He was given two five-gallon buckets and a shovel. He wondered why he was not treating patients, even angry that they were not being good stewards of his abilities.

As he was leaving at the end of that first day he noticed a quote from Mother Teresa painted on a wall:

“We can do no great things, only small thing with great love.”  

Garbage duty was her way of teaching him something essential about leading and serving.  It was then, as I heard Dr. Morsch tell it, when he realized that serving others was not about the great things he was going to do but the spirit with which he served – how much love he put into the doing.   It was a lesson she thought he needed to learn if he was to serve well.

Gary has gone on to set an example of doing small things with great love guiding thousands of volunteers and staff at Heart to Heart.

He will be in Rome in September when Mother Teresa is canonized as a Saint, a faithful servant who spent her life doing small things with great love, helping thousands of Calcutta’s disinherited die with dignity.

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2 Responses to Doing Small Things With Great Love

  1. Wesley Campbell says:

    When Michael Christiansen Former Director of the Oak House in San Francisco, spoke to us here in Vancouver a few years ago, he mentioned visiting to Mother Teresa in India. He too went through a similar experience and discovered new lessons about himself. Good article Tom….timely!

  2. Tom McMahon says:

    This and your previous article reminded me of a McLean Bible Church event a few years ago when retired USAF Major General “Click” Smith and USN Rear Admiral Dick Shaffer were observed in the kitchen afterwards washing dishes together which exemplified their servant hearts and faithfulness. Incidentally, Mother Teresa is one of the seven women that Eric Metaxas wrote about in his recent book, “7 Women.” Thank you for your many thought-provoking and inspirational articles.

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