By Nick Eve, Director of Stewardship and Development
September 5 is the feast day of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. She has been described as a “symbol of compassion to the world” for her love and work among the poor and outcast. I once heard an interesting story regarding Blessed Teresa and a sack of rice that I would like to share.
According to the story, a man visited Blessed Teresa’s convent one evening seeking food for his family. The man explained that he, his wife, and eight children had not eaten for a few days. Blessed Teresa put together a small sack of rice (roughly enough for one day for a family of that size) and went with the man to his home.
When they arrived at the house, Blessed Teresa handed the sack of rice to the man’s wife. The wife opened the sack and carefully divided the contents into two equal portions. The woman then placed one of the portions back into the sack. Blessed Teresa assumed that the wife had decided to place part of the rice aside for the next day. However, what happened next surprised Blessed Teresa… read more…
The woman took the sack of rice and left the house. She soon returned empty handed. Blessed Teresa asked the woman what she had done with the sack of rice. The woman explained that there was another family nearby who also did not have any food. So, the woman had taken half of the rice to them.
When I first heard the story, I thought of a couple of scripture passages: the miracle of the loaves and fishes (how a little fed so many) and the poor widow’s mite (the widow who gave all she had to the temple). Then, I began to ask myself what I would have done if I had been the woman. Would I willingly share half of the rice? More importantly, would I have shared any of the rice?
It is easy to share when we have an abundance or surplus, but it takes great faith and courage to share when there is little. The human instinct for self preservation would dictate that the woman keep all of the rice she received from Blessed Teresa. However, the woman’s first thought was to share what she had with others.
As Christians, we are called to share our blessings in both good times and lean times. So, perhaps we should consider whether we are sharing from our substance or our surplus.
What would you have done with the sack of rice?