What The Rhino Can Teach Us About Love

When it comes to dating games, the rhinoceros is unique, especially the female. When she spots the “big boy” of her dreams she charges toward him at thirty miles per hour, hits him broadside, and knocks him down. Then she gouges him and steps on him. While he is literally bruised and bleeding, he gets the message: “She loves me.”  I wonder … is the male rhino that dense? What does it take to get your attention? I heard of one lady who tried to kill herself just to get her husband to notice her. No joke! She went to the medicine cabinet, swallowed all the pills in sight and then lay down to die right in front of her husband. Unfortunately, the guy was as slow as the rhino. Her desperate act didn’t work. The woman had to rush herself to the emergency room to get her stomach pumped.

We live in a world that is malnourished—emotionally! People all around us are starving for attention. You see it in the little kid who yells, “Look at me! Look at me!” You notice it in the woman who asks her husband, “How do I look?” Sometimes it is the hidden message in the teenager’s new hairdo, earring, or tattoo: “Somebody notice me!”

While Jesus doesn’t want us to knock people down with rhino-like force, he does call us to reach out to people with God-like compassion.

A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (John 13:34-35 NIV)

Jesus paid attention to the needs of others. He gathered little children into his arms, reached out a compassionate hand to the neglected, took notice of a little guy hiding out in a big tree and invested that important commodity called time on some unschooled fisherman. His actions said, “I notice you; you are important to me! How can I help you?” Jesus calls us to the same kind of action: As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

The rhino is a great illustration of love, but we don't have to knock someone over to make our message powerful. We can say, “I notice you; you matter to me,” with a card, a call, a smile, or some individual time.  If a rhinoceros can get its message across, so can we. God calls us to love people with an uncompromising resolve. Who needs your attention today?

FOCAL POINT: Let every animal you see be your reminder of the need to pay attention to others and to deliver a message of love that says, “You matter to me!”

Copyright © 2010 Tommy Kiedis