As You Did At First (Don't Miss This One!)
28 August 2019
As You Did At First
Reading: Ezekiel 1-3; Revelation 2
2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. 4 But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (Revelation 2:2-4 NLT)
Whatever opinion you and I may have about whether these seven churches represent the “Church Ages” or spiritual conditions churches may find themselves in, and whatever we may think the symbolism of candlesticks and white stones and hidden manna means, the message is as relevant as today’s news.
The church at Ephesus was a good, hard-working church. They held steady under pressure and persecution and kept their doctrine and practices pure. But they had lost the simple and pure motivation of love for God and love for each other.
Jesus called the Ephesus church to wake up and realize they had actually “fallen” from love-motivation to something less, something not God-pleasing. “Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5 NLT)
Loving God and Loving People. It sounds so simple and pure. I really want to live a love-motivated life. It doesn’t matter if a person is part of a church staff, serves in a para-church ministry, runs a business, works a “real” job, goes to school – whatever we do with the majority of our time and energy – there is a steady, relentless, gravitational pull away from the simplicity of living a love-motivated life. Jesus called the Ephesians back to the simplicity of their first love. Jesus is calling you and me back to the simplicity of our first love and of loving first.
Father, I know that I am susceptible to the relentless gravitational pull of daily living, working, and serving that pulls me away from the simplicity of living a love-motivated life—the pull that causes me to fall in slow motion from where you want me to be and from where I want to be. Please refresh my love-motivation today. I turn toward you in love and worship, and I turn toward my brothers and sisters and my world in compassion and care. Amen.