“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:9)
A wasted life.
It’s hard to grasp the concept of a wasted life when it came to Mother Teresa, yet when we understand the message of grace, versus the teaching of works as a means to justification by faith alone, we get a more precise picture of how far someone can stray from the truth of the cross and fall into spiritual ruin.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
I was reminded of this verse recently when the world paused to remember the death of the ‘King of Rock & Roll’ Elvis Presley. Well, maybe it wasn’t the whole world. I’m pretty sure there are at least a billion people in China who never gave Elvis’ death a moment’s thought. But for those of us in the good old USA who think the world revolves around us it was almost like a day of mourning, or at least a national holiday.
I wasn’t a big Elvis fan growing up but just like every one else I remember where I was when the announcement was made that the ‘King’ was dead. My first thought was, “must have been drug related”. But soon thereafter, even though I was not serving the Lord at that time, I began to think of Mark 8:36 – What profit is there in gaining the whole world? Where is the value in all that fame, money, and worldly honors? Here was a man that had everything the world says is important and yet he came to his end alone, sitting on a toilet, fat and drug addicted at the age of 42.
Unfortunately these kinds of wasted lives are all too common in our celebrity crazed culture. But there is another kind of wasted life that, on the surface isn’t quite as obvious. It is a life seen by the world as being given totally to the service of mankind. The life of a humanitarian or religious figure can be just as wasted as that of the celebrity hedonist.
On Dec. 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, the “Saint of the Gutters,” went to Oslo. Dressed in her signature blue-bordered sari and shod in sandals despite below-zero temperatures, the former Agnes Bojaxhiu received that ultimate worldly accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance lecture, Teresa, whose Missionaries of Charity had grown from a one-woman folly in Calcutta in 1948 into a global beacon of self-abnegating care, delivered the kind of message the world had come to expect from her. “It is not enough for us to say, ‘I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'” she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had “[made] himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one.” Jesus’ hunger, she said, is what “you and I must find” and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West. Finally, she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world “that radiating joy is real” because Christ is everywhere — “Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive.”
Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. “Jesus has a very special love for you,” she assured Van der Peet. “[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak … I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand.”
Almost everyone in the world would agree that Mother Teresa was a living saint. She gave her life in service to the least of those among us. She took a vow of poverty in order to identify with the poorest of the poor. She forsook all the comforts of modern life in order to minister as a woman of faith in the poorest slums of India and around the world. Surely this woman was sent by God. Surely this woman who was so selfless in her life is now occupying an honored place in God’s eternal kingdom.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew: 7:22-23)
Now we find out that all we thought we knew about Mother Teresa may not be so. In a Time magazine feature story we discover that Teresa herself never had any assurance of her place in God’s kingdom. In letters heretofore unpublished, Mother Teresa confides her lack of faith in a spiritual confidant and mentor, Father Michael van der Peet.
These revelations have already been seized upon by atheists and skeptics eager to prove that all religious thought is merely the imaginative speculations of the human mind. Some in the religious community have attempted to prove just the opposite, that despite her inability to ‘feel the presence of God’ she was still a grand example of faith.
The real truth from all this should come as no surprise to any true bible believing Christian. Mother Teresa did not feel the presence of God because she was an idolater. She practiced an empty form of religious ritual based on the vain traditions of men rather than the truth of Gods word. She had a form of Godliness that had no real power to save, heal or deliver from sin. Examine closely the following statements made by Mother Teresa herself:
“We never try to convert those who receive aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied.”
“It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.” — [Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations, and Prayers, pp. 81-82]
“I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic”–Mother Teresa [A Simple Path p 31]
Mother Teresa was a Catholic through and through. She worshiped Mary as the mother of God and co-redeemer with Christ.
“Mary … is our patroness and our Mother, and she is always leading us to Jesus.”– Mother Teresa speech at the Worldwide retreat for Priests – Oct 1984
She worshiped the Eucharist and in direct violation of Hebrews 9:28 and 10:14 taught that Christ must be offered over and over for the remission of sins. “At the word of a priest, that little piece of bread becomes the body of Christ, the Bread of Life.” — Mother Teresa speech at the Worldwide retreat for Priests – Oct 1984
She exalted men into the place of Christ.
“When the priest is there, then can we have our altar and our tabernacle and our Jesus. Only the priest put Jesus there for us. … Jesus wants to go there, but we cannot bring him unless you first give him to us. This is why I love priests so much. We could never be what we are and do the things we do without you priests who first bring Jesus to us.” — Mother Teresa speech at the Worldwide retreat for Priests – Oct 1984
She believed in the Catholic doctrine of suffering in this life to atone for ones sins.
“The dying, the crippled, the mentally ill, the unwanted, the unloved — they are Jesus in disguise. … [through the] poor people I have an opportunity to be 24 hours a day with Jesus. Every AIDS victim is Jesus in a pitiful disguise; Jesus is in everyone.” — Mother Teresa (12/4/89, Time magazine, pp. 11,13)
It is this last form of false religious belief that should trouble us the most. Ask anyone about Mother Teresa’s work and they will tell you that she did wonderful things to ease the suffering of the poor. Many are convinced that she ran a crude hospital in the Calcutta slums but the reality is quite different from the myth.
There was never any hospital, never any medical care of any kind. What she ran was a warehouse in which the terminally ill were given a cot, a minimal amount of food, and were allowed to die surrounded by hundreds of other poor desperate souls. There was no privacy, a communal open toilet sufficed for all, friends and family were barred from visiting. This was the result of her idolatrous Catholic belief system. A belief system that denies the sufficiency of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and instead teaches that man must atone for his own sins either by suffering in this present life or suffering in purgatory in the after life.
Though she took a vow of poverty, her organization raised millions (by some accounts hundreds of millions) of dollars every year. No one is quite sure how much money the Missionaries of Charity raised over the years because Teresa was fiercely protective of not only how much was raised but how it was spent. Even though Indian law requires all charitable organizations to make their financial records open to the public, somehow this was never enforced in relation to the Missionaries of Charity. Many suspect that a great deal of the money raised ostensibly to help the poor went directly to the Vatican Bank. It should also be noted that while Teresa thought it noble for the poor to suffer without medical care, whenever she herself needed medical care, a private jet flew her to the world’s most exclusive clinics and hospitals.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
All of our human attempts at righteousness before God are as filthy rags. We can never do enough. We can never make ourselves right regardless of how many good works we do. Even if we truly give our lives in the service of others it is all for naught if we think those works are making a place for us in heaven. It is sad that this woman followed such as false religious system thinking that her good works would usher her into the presence of God. The only answer for us is to trust in the righteousness which is in Christ Jesus.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19)
Mother Teresa was loved by the world. She was exalted as an example of what a true Christian should be. She won the Nobel Peace prize and over 100 additional humanitarian awards. Even most Christians would argue that the scripture above should not apply to this woman. I beg to differ. Any time you see the world exalting any person in the religious realm your discernment alarm should be on high alert. No true Christian will ever be well received by the world and that applies to every arena – religion, politics, business, every area of life. Any person who receives honor from the world cannot be displaying the true character and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 13:11 describes a beast that arises from the earth. This beast has two horns like a lamb. In other words he looks outwardly like what the world thinks a Christian should look like but he speaks with the mouth of the dragon. I cannot think of a better example of this beast than Mother Teresa. She had all the outward attributes of a great woman of God but as the above quotes prove she did not speak the words of Christ. She spoke as the great dragon who deceives the whole world.
Friends, we are in an hour of great deception. Jesus said the false teachers would do great signs and wonders to deceive if possible the very elect. Don’t fall for it. Put God’s word first place in your life and judge all things by that word. This is the only way to overcome when you are judged.
“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Romans 3:4)
Had Mother Teresa come to the knowledge of the cross, and not religion, she might have had a very different outcome spiritually, but sadly, Teresa went the way of many who had a form of religion, but in the end, they deny the very one in whom they have claimed to believe in, all because they never really knew Christ, they simply adapted some of his teachings, but rejected his friendship. Let us reject this form of religion and turn people back to the cross, by faith alone.