In Stephen W. Smith’s recent book, Inside Job, he cites the Rule of Life Mother Teresa laid down for her nuns in their work among the sick and dying in Calcutta.
It reads as follows:
The Sisters shall spend 1 day in every week, 1 week in every month, 1 month in every year, 1 year in every 6 years in the Motherhouse, where in contemplation and penance together with solitude she can gather in the spiritual strength, which she might have used up in the service of the poor. (p. 344, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light)
Imagine 1 Sabbath day every week, 1 Sabbath week every month, 1 Sabbath month every year, and 1 Sabbath year every 7 years. What I like best about this is 1 Sabbath week every month!
Every one of us ministers among the sick and dying. Yet we consistently underestimate how much emotional/spiritual life is flowing out from us. If we are going to have the kind of impact Mother Teresa had, it will require we do less, not more. Let me ask you:
- How aware are you of the life that is flowing out of you to others?
- Our bodies are major, not minor prophets. If your body could speak, what would it be saying to you about the pace of your life today?
- Are your daily rhythms sufficient for what God has placed before you (Mother Teresa’s nuns spend 3 hours a day in fixed hour prayer)?
- What adjustments might God be inviting you to make in your weekly, monthly, and annual rhythms? Often what worked for us in one season (e.g. last year) is not sufficient for the season we are in this year.
Remember: We cannot give what we do not possess. We can only give what we do possess.