If you’re around me for any length of time, you’ll probably notice that I’m a planner. My natural inclination is to think through the consequences of circumstances and to try to adjust my behavior accordingly. Although my proclivity towards planning even small circumstances has been the subject of much teasing, I have no real desire to change. I figure this ridiculous desire to plan has provided more good then bad. Plus, it makes me unique – anyone can be spontaneous.
As I mentioned, the plans I make are rooted in a desire to think things through to their logical conclusion. Unfortunately, a lot of my plans are about me and what’s going on in my life. I don’t take nearly the same level of care when I think about others. Others’ lives tend to be more of a cursory concern.
Mother Teresa once said, ” Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others.”
Although there is much depth to be explored in this quotation, there are two things in particular that caught my attention. First, is that Christ’s thoughts were never of Himself. Many times in Scripture the Lord tried to get away and be refreshed only to see a need in the crowd and adjust His plans. Although He knew how to get what He wanted, and needed, namely rest, He choose instead to think of others and change His behavior. When our thoughts are of ourselves, we don’t provide ourselves the opportunity to do the same.
Secondly, Mother Teresa said that thoughtfulness caused our vocation to be beautiful. Although we may be inclined to believe that she was talking about her particular vocation to be a nun, in reality each Christian shares the same calling to serve Christ. Whether we are a teacher, a businessperson, a doctor or a politician each of us have the chance to make our vocation beautiful through the act of thinking of others. It’s this act that causes our vocation to be a ministry of Christ.
I may never think of others with the same great care that I plan for my own life. But someday, I hope to.