What is The Greatest Love? I am sure opinions will vary from person to person. I do not expect everyone to agree with me. I do expect some will come, see the content and leave. This article is one that brings strong feelings and emotions. This article is one that is offensive to many.
I see surveys all the time. What is the greatest song of all time. What is the greatest movie of all time. There are the top 10 list for almost anything. Spellcheck.net give the definition of surveys as, “Systematic gathering of data for a particular purpose from various sources, including questionnaires, interviews, observation, existing records, and electronic devices. The process is usually preliminary to statistical analysis of the data.”
You can find top 10 lists or surveys. The “GREATEST” of all time, Love poems, love songs, love letters. There is even a category for the greatest love of all. I have to ask myself, “What is the criteria used to determine what is the greatest love of all?” If you were asked to make a top 10 list of the greatest love throughout all history, who or what would you choose?
The greatest love of all would have to be demonstrated by someone or in some way. Cause and effect would be two elements of such a demonstration. What category would you choose? Arts and Science, Thinkers and Philosophers, Emperors, Kings, Politicians. Composers and Musicians. Scientists, Writers, Inventors, Explorers. Painters or Architects. In every category listed, there would have to be some great contribution to mankind or society.
Since this article deals with The Greatest Love, I am going to narrow it down to Humanitarians. These are people who helped improve the welfare and happiness of others. They alleviated suffering and saved human lives. They promoted welfare and social reforms for the betterment of mankind. I will refine this search to the last century.
Humanitarians Who Showed Great Love
1. Norman Ernest Borlaug (March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009). He was called, “The father of the Green Revolution. The man who saved a billion lives.” He won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal and was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor.
He invented his own method of wheat production, which he gave to India, Pakistan and Mexico. This doubled food production and decreased the rate of starvation. In his later life he continued his work in Asia and Africa.
2. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968). He was an African-American Baptist Minister and Activist. He spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. He advocated non-violent methods to achieve Civil Rights in America and around the world. His goal and dream was to abolish racial segregation in America.
In 1964, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. He is noted for his “I Have A Dream speech” in their March on Washington. His love for his people and freedom cost him his life. Dr. King was assassinated by those who hated him and his message of equality and freedom.
3. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. (August 26, 1910 — September 5, 1997). Best known as “Mother Teresa.” She was a Catholic Nun from Calcutta, India. She has been regarded as the model humanitarian. Her Missionaries of Charity helped the poor, needy, orphans, and the dying. They served lepers and those with HIV in over a hundred countries.
Mother Teresa said “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” Her work expanded to over a million workers in 610 missions in 123 countries. She received many awards, including The Nobel Peace Prize.
4. Nelson Mandela. (July 18 1918 – 5 December 2013). He was arrested and put in prison for 27 years. He fought to stop racial segregation in South Africa (Apartheid) by non-violent means. In 1994 he became South Africa’s first black President. He fought against poverty, inequality and racism. He helped establish a democratic society for all.
Mandela led a National Unity Government and freed South Africa. He saw his goal as a national reconciliation. He served as President from 1994-1999. He also received many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. He brought about Welfare reform, land distribution and Foreign Policy for his nation.
5. Mahatma Gandhi. (October 2 1869 – January 30 1948). Gandhi became the leader of the “Indian Independence Movement” in the British ruled India. He led his nation to independence. His non-violent approach has influenced freedom and civil rights movements across the world. He was also imprisoned for many years.
Gandhi, a civil rights activist, led reforms in civil rights, women’s right, poverty, discrimination and religious freedom. He detested racism, prejudice and injustice. He rose to the position of leader of the Indian Congress. Christian traditions did influence Gandhi. He was assassinated by a so called friend. He was nominated 5 times for the Nobel Peace Prize, but never received it. He was awarded many other awards.
6. Oscar Schindler. (April 28 1908 – October 9 1974). Schindler was a German factory owner who saved over 1200 Jews from death during the Holocaust. He was a member of the Nazi Party but used his influence to keep Jews working in his much needed Nazi ammunitions factories. He gave large bribes and expensive gifts to keep his workers safe.
His entire fortune was spent protecting Jewish workers from death. His humanity to the Jews was never forgotten. Especially by those whose lives he saved. Schindler died in 1974 financially broke. Schindler is the only member of the Nazi Party to be honored and buried in Mt. Zion In Jerusalem.
I have given 6 examples of Great Humanitarians who did not know they were Great. They gave of themselves for the greater good of humanity and mankind. They fought and died for the human rights of others, freedom and self rule. They battled injustice, racism, and hatred, but felt it their duty and honor.
What would motivate these people to give their life, fortune or all they ever hoped for to others? I think it was Love for humanity. What GREAT LOVE they gave. How they impacted the world. I wonder who was their role model or hero? Who or what impacted their thinking and their lives?
How They Ended
1. Norman Ernest Borlaug Lived through the great depression. He saw and felt hunger first hand. His life’s goal was to end World Hunger. His grandparents, help start “Immanuel Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.” Norman was one of the early trustee’s of “Bread for the World” a Christian based organization.
In His 1970 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, (the most important speech of his life) He quotes the Bible 5 times. An interview with his daughter revealed Norman attended church on a regular basis when he was not on “his mission field.” “Bread for the World”, Rev. Dr. David Beckman, conducted Normans funeral.
At Normans funeral, he was described as, “A devout Lutheran, whose faith was the motivation for his mission to use science to feed people.” I think he was motivated by Christ and the Bible.
2. Martin Luther King Jr. Christian, ordained Baptist Minister. His life and ministry proved his faith and dedication to Christ and Humanity.
4. Nelson Mandela was a Christian. Growing up, he attended Methodist church school, just like his mother did. His first wife, sister and other relatives were Jehovah’s Witness.
5. Gandhi was Hindu and held to Dharma. He felt every religion was connected with some belief system. He believed religion could not be understood without knowing its relation with God. Gandhi was an avid reader and held to many of the Christian traditions. He adopted the concept of “AGAPE” Love from the Bible.
6. Oscar Schindler. In his best selling book, “Schindler’s Ark,” the author Thomas Keneally says, ” Oscar Schindler’s childhood, was a strong Catholic household and deeply religious parents. The nearest neighbors were a Jewish Rabbi family, and the two sons were Oscar’s closest friends for years.”
Schindlers own words. “”The persecution of Jews in occupied Poland meant that we could see horror emerging gradually in many ways. In 1939, they were forced to wear Jewish stars, and people were herded and shut up into ghettos. Then, in the years ’41 and ’42 there was plenty of public evidence of pure sadism. With people behaving like pigs, I felt the Jews were being destroyed. I had to help them. There was no choice.”
After World War II, Schindlers was hated and isolated from his own German people. Rejected and persecuted because he testified at the German War Crime Trials. They cursed him and threw rocks at him. I cannot say he was a Christian, I can only say, “He was a very good human.”
There are many examples of Great Love in history. I chose these as my example, within the last hundred years. Men have made the supreme sacrifice and died in wars for freedom and love of country. The war still rages on today for religious freedom.
What Is The Greatest Love
Approximately 2015 years ago, a man named Jesus Christ was born, lived and died. He too was an activist and promoted non-violence as a way of life. Jesus and His people were in their own country, but were slaves to the Romans. His message of freedom and salvation were confirmed by the miracles He performed. He had a mission from God. To spread the very Love of God.
Jesus faced racism, injustice, discrimination and suffering. He was not only rejected and despised by the Romans but also by His own people. His message of Love and equality was not accepted. His message of a Kingdom to come, one without end, was rejected. The Jews looked for their Messiah and Jesus was it. He was not the Messiah, they wanted.
The message was, love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies. He was the greatest humanitarian who ever lived. All His accomplishments meant nothing to His own people. Only to those He touched and healed. He was mocked, beaten, spit on and brutally whipped. He was abused and a crown of thorns was sunk into his head.
He was sentenced to death unjustly, carried a heavy cross on His back to a hill called Calvary and there was crucified. There on the cross, He prayed to His Father in heaven, asking forgiveness for those that were killing him. This is by far, The Greatest Love ever known to mankind.
(KJV John 15:13) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” His life was not taken from Him, He laid it down for humanity. The very Son Of God, the Creator of all, came in human form to die for the transgressions of all humanity. He rose from the grave 3 days later and ascended back to Heaven.
I do not know who or what form of Love is on your top 10 list. The Love Of God is The Greatest Love. It is the supreme sacrifice for everyone. This love and life given from God is Eternal. Not just temporal here on earth. I said, “I wonder who or what influenced these Great Humanitarians listed above? Who was their role model?” I think I know that answer, but you will have to answer that for yourself.
Your thoughts, opinions and comments are welcome. Leave them here. If I can help you let me know.