A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another, even as I have loved you, that you also
love one another. By this all men will know that you
are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13: 34-35
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word,
in the statement, ” You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It wasn’t an “everyday” happening in Androcles’ life–and for that I’m sure he was very thankful! What was it that made this day one of “those” days? Well, he pulled a thorn from a lion’s paw! (That eight-word sentence is packed with emotion if you think about it.) But, he did it. The lion disappeared into the forest and Androcles pulled himself together and headed home–swaggering just a tad–a little taller, chest out, stomach in, shoulders back–heart pounding, short of breath and shaky legs. It was over. That makes a really good story, and it has a happy ending–but it isn’t The End.
Not quite. One day he met his lion friend again, only he didn’t remember the lion–the lion remembered him. Androcles was now a Roman slave and he had displeased his master to the point that his master had assigned Androcles to feed the lions a tasty tidbit–himself! But the lion refused to eat his supper.Growl, growl. (Definition: a rumbling, menacing sound.)Sniff, sniff. There’s something familiar about this man. I’ll get a little closer to him. Hum . . .. He smells–sniff–sniff, sniff. Well! What do you know about that! This is my friend–the one who pulled that thorn out of my foot. I refuse to eat my supper! The beast remembered the day when he was in such pain, helpless, licking his wounded paw, and that this was the person who extracted the thorn that had crippled him.
I’m sure Androcles would duck his head and shyly say, “Aw, it was nothin’ really.” And you might duck your head and shyly say the same thing if someone were to brag on you for helping a person who was in pain, crippled by something beyond their ability to surmount, helpless: Someone who needed a person to stop and see what was wrong. Well, you happened along, you stopped, and even though it was an uncomfortable situation–maybe even a scary one–one that you felt very insecure in tackling, you did it. And that person won’t forget that deed of kindness. That’s exactly what Jesus had in mind when he told us to love one another.
You see, when you do kind things for others, they will sense your love
and will know that you are My disciples. Loving others is the greatest
act of kindness–the one act–that pleases me more than anything else
you might do.
Lord, I never know which person to help. You’ve got to show me. There are so many hurting people–I could be pulling out thorns all day long! But there is someone especially in my path today. Show him to me and let me stop and ease his pain. Of course, I feel very insecure and I confess that I can’t do that, Lord–but You can do it through me. Thank you.