If you are what you should be, you will set your whole world on fire!
I wasn’t going to publish this post. But, I had a conversation with a friend last night that made me rethink that decision. My friend mentioned that she can’t worry about setting the whole world on fire; she just wants to be the best wife, mother and friend that she can be. That, she said, would be enough for her right now.
Bingo! She got the point of the quote, at least what I think is an important part of this quote.
Notice that the quote says, If you are what you should be, you will set YOUR whole world on fire? Key word in the second part of the quote is YOUR.
Some people get “hell bent” on going and changing the whole world or making their mark on the world that they forget their own little world, their own environments (their families, their circle of friends, those people in they come into contact with regularly). Here’s a question:
If you can’t die to yourself and love those in YOUR world
then how do you think you’ll set the WHOLE world on fire?
I know this message may seem remedial for some of us but from what I’ve observed many Christians lose sight of it (including myself). It seems many of us get caught up in some vision, experience or ministry in order to bring the love of Jesus to the world and while doing so we neglect to show that love to the ones closest to us.
Some people think that we have to do something really big for God in order to be significant or important in His family. You know, be some great speaker, teacher, author, musician, or missionary. Or start some fantastic church program that triples church attendance. Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with doing those things. But they should follow a life of faithfulness in your own little world. They should flow from the life of one who is what she should be and is setting her own little world on fire with the love of God.
How many times have we heard about the church leader who neglected HIs family in his pursuit of building the Kingdom of God? Or, the famous author or speaker who spent so much time on the speaking circuit that he/she never had time to really love and build relationships with their family. In case you think I’m pointing fingers let me make it clear I’m just as guilty.
It happens when I’m so busy preparing to serve on a women’s retreat to bring the love of Jesus to those women and I continually lose my patience with my girls when they interrupt me. I guarantee you my world is not on fire with God’s love at that point! Or when I’m busy serving in some area at church and I’m not available to my husband who needs me to be flexible and maintain a peaceful environment at home. Or I’m so wrapped up in “ministry” that I don’t have time to reach out to a neighbor who has a real need. And so, I miss an oppotunity to show Christ’s love in a tangible way in “my world.”
There’s something I’ve noticed when reading about the lives of some of the saints in the church. It’s this: They were faithful in the small stuff. Their influence in the Kingdom came from a life of faithfulness, love and holiness in the here and now, in their own small worlds.
- Mother Theresa was a woman of faithfulness, love and humility long before she was known for bringing God’s love to the poor, sick and dying people in Calcutta and inspiring others to the same. She simply was what God called her to be; a vessel of God’s love and light.
- St. Theresa of Lisieux lived only 24 short years. Few people even noticed her or knew of her while she lived. It was after her death that “The Little Way of St. Therese” became known. This little way was not little in any way. St. Therese put “dying to self” into practice in the most simple and common everyday experiences. Her story is an inspiration. She was what God called her to be and her life has influenced many to love God and others by dying to self in the little ways.
- St. Rita wanted to be nun but at a young age her parents had her marry. In her vocation as a wife and mother she set her world on fire through years of unselfish and faithful prayers for her wayward husband and sons. Not long after their hearts were converted they died.
Back to my friend’s comment.
She just wants to be the wife, mom, and friend that God has called her to be. And if she can do that faithfully and with the love of God she’ll be content.
I think that’s in part what St. Catherine meant in by this quote. If you are what you should be (a child of God who loves Him and others). And, if you live that out in your vocation right here and right now. Then, you will set your world on fire.
And in case you’re wondering what that fire looks like. I think it looks like passionate love. And don’t get confused. I’m talking about the the passionate (suffering) love of Jesus that we’re called to imitate as we pick up our cross each day. St. Catherine often spoke of the blazing love of Jesus. Like fire, His passionate love purifies, it burns away the chaff and impurities of life. His love draws us to a life of holiness and loving others.
What a calling we have–to be a vessel of love and holiness right where we are. Like my friend, I want to focus on doing that in my world in the here and now. I want to be faithful in the “small stuff.” I want the passionate, blazing love of Jesus to transform me and to set my little world on fire for His glory .