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The Second Greatest

“This is the great and foremost commandment.cThe second is like it, ‘ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”
– Matthew 22: 38-39

I am such a lover of animals – too much so for my own peace of mind, really. If I see a dog wandering around looking “lost” I have to force myself to “get a grip” and drive on down the road (and not look in the rearview mirror). Of course, brown bears are not on the top of my list nor tigers, nor lions, etc. But I’m a softie when it comes to wagging tails, purring kittens, and fascinating wild creatures. I have (as my computer wallpaper) a wonderful photo of a tiger (or a leopard or a spotted creature of some sort). It’s full screen and his eyes are looking right at me! Beautiful! He isn’t licking his chops in anticipation of Anabel being a hors d’oeuvre, but he looks pretty serious. When you see it you want to rub his nose or pat him on the head. Not a good plan. All of that to say God’s creativity amazes me!

How many species of birds, how many different kinds of wolves, how many different breeds of cats? I readily attribute to Him “all creatures great and small”. I wish I could do the same with His creativity when it comes to His human species! I’m not a long-legged willowy blonde with flawless complexion and eyes like “purple pansies”. Not that I would fret if I were. I just need to look long and hard at “me” and accept what I see. Neither am I in the upper echelon of intelligent women, well-read and able to hold my own at a conference table. (I WOULD fret if that change were made – I like my privacy and my personal tastes).

But just how did Jesus mean this “second greatest commandment” to be carried out? And is it actually possible to do this? I’m not going to let Anabel go hungry, or dirty, or live in a tenement. I’m going to keep my clothes clean and fix the house when something needs attention. I’m going to take good care of “me”. That’s “loving” Anabel, isn’t it?

No, I can’t comprehend His meaning, especially when I see a newsreel of starving children, or an orphanage, or “skeleton-like people” looking through a fence with yearning eyes, or lonely old people alone, forgotten, their world a steel bed. When I read about women being held captive as sexual treats for cruel men – it’s too much! What am I to do?

Lord, this isn’t the world YOU created. Your world was perfect. There were no carnivorous beasts, they ate the green things growing around and the fruit and berries were our food. There was no fear, loneliness, or deprivation. We live in a fallen world with hurting people all around us – too many to rescue. But, dear Lord, please make us sensitive to Your voice when You whisper, “Give her some money,” Tell her you love her,” “Help this ministry reach the lost and lonely.” And, I can pray, not for every person – that would not only be futile but impossible – but I can pray for Your soon coming so that everyone will be released from the bonds of Satan’s kingdom. Yes. That I can do. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

THE EPILOGUE

The “rest of the story”. We must remember that even though accepting “me” on the outside may take some convincing on our part (by the way, acceptance is not a choice, it is an integral part of the “second greatest” commandment!) but just open the door and take a look at what’s on the inside! Astonishing! Wonderful! Incredible! What an absolutely beautiful, kind, loving, compassionate person I am as a new creation in Christ Jesus! I am holy, blameless, efficient, loved beyond believing, and all because of Who has “set up shop” on the inside! That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

Beauty is only skin deep!

It’s what on the inside that counts!

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.