The first and second commandments


Be like Jesus, this my song, In the home and in the throng;

Be like Jesus all day long; I would be like Jesus.

Keith Miller, in one of his books, tells how one morning, already late for an appointment in New York, he was running to catch a commuter train. Just as he arrived at the station, he glanced hurriedly at his watch and saw that if he ran for the train he would just barely make it.

Racing through the station, however, he caught sight of a little girl about seven years old. She looked scared and was crying loudly.

There were people all around her, but no one seemed to be noticing her. For a brief moment, he wondered why no one was helping her. Then it came home to him, why wasn’t he helping her? “Because,” he said to himself, “if I stop to help her, I will miss my train, and I’m already late for my appointment.”

But in that moment, he remembered a talk he had given to the men’s group of his church the evening before. In his talk, he had said, to them, “The power of our Christian witness is not so much the words we say, as it is the way we live.”

With that he stopped and went back to help the little girl. As it turned out, she had gotten separated from her mother. After comforting and reassuring her, he was able quickly to find the mother, but not before his train had pulled out without him.

As if coming from a great distance, he heard a voice and looked down at the little girl standing beside her mother. She was staring up at him intently. Almost in a whisper she asked, “Mister, are you Jesus?”

Keith Miller said that he suddenly realized that for a few brief moments there in a railway station that morning he was Jesus to a little girl. He had done what he thought Jesus would have done; he had represented the spirit of our faith to another person.

It is often said that the best way to love God is to love others. When Jesus was asked to name the commandment that is first of all, he said, “The first is, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ And the second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”

Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple where he was senior minister for 23 years.

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2010-08-05 digital edition

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