Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. NLT – Matthew 22:37–40.

In 1996, Trish my wife and I got this shepherd/chow mix puppy. He was the cutest little thing. As Shadow grew, I had remembered my dad being able to take the little dog we had as kids and teach the family dog some tricks. I used to love it when that dog performed tricks on command. So I decided to do the same for my new hairy companion. Day after day, I would teach him commands and reward him with a treat. Repetitiously, I was able to first teach him how to sit and then from there I taught him how to shake with both paws. One thing I had noticed was that at times he would perform my commands without me even saying a word. Simply pointing my finger at him would make him sit and snapping my fingers in front a each leg would instruct him to raise that leg and shake with the appropriate paw.

Our fun did not stop with those tricks. By the time we had to get rid of him because we were moving into an apartment he could sit, shake, lay, roll over, stand, and play dead. Commanding him to play dead was the most difficult, but yet most rewarding. This trick took the longest to teach him to perform. Yet when he finally figured it out I could say, “Shadow” and after getting his attention I would snap my fingers and end up with my finger pointing at him and he would respond by dropping to the ground and falling on his side. He would stay there until I commanded him to get up. It was a blast. He eventually got to the point where he would do them without a reward. He was a great dog. I miss him.

I didn’t give Shadow commands to hurt him. Rather, I gave him commands to connect with him. All he wanted to do was please me. When he did, he got a reward.

Something to consider – Jesus summed it all up with loving God and others. How are you doing following the Lord’s commands?


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