Just a week ago, Brenda and I stopped at our favorite Yelm Mexican Restaurant for a bite to eat after I picked her up from work. Since I have acquired my iPad, I have been trying to create a habit of carrying it with me – just about everywhere. So, my little bag goes with me into the grocery store, to the hardware store, etc. I dare not leave it in the car where Thieves can steal it… Yet I must remember to pick it up from the chair at the restaurant when we leave. Do I do it???? NO…. I left it behind. And I did not even miss it until we pulled into the garage at home. Then panic set in – where is it? At Mariachi’s? Let’s go. Brenda is driving and we have a reckless few minutes returning the 6 miles into Yelm. Meanwhile, I am calling information to get the number to ask them to make sure it’s still where I left it. Fortunately, they have found it and moved it into a safe location and were just waiting on my call… Whew…
How many times has something like this happened to any of us?
- We go about our normal day.
- We have left something behind and departed without even noticing that it’s gone.
- We have reached some point into the future and all of a sudden realize that we are missing something.
- Panic ensues, desperate acts pursued, and all other important things are all of a sudden abandoned…
I was thinking about this when a friend posted something similar about his iPad. Only, his story was a little different.
- He had left his iPad in another city, at a hotel, several days ago – and did not even miss it until he needed it to download his Wednesday night message.
- “Now where is the iPad? Briefcase…nope. Oh, yeah, that’s right, it’s in the travel case…nada. In the black briefcase? No, sir-ee. In the pull Tumi case for on-the-road travel…nothing. OK, a little jittery now…in the office? In the bedroom? In my home office? No, no and no.”
- “Time for a retracement of steps: last seven days—five airports in four states. I fill out reports for lost items for the airlines…one hour’s worth of work…recalling every flight number from Arizona, Texas, New Jersey and Maine.”
- He calls on his wife to help bolster his memory. They finally decide that the iPad was left in a hotel several states away. He enlists his daughters help to call and check while he teaches his Wednesday night service – it’s found and actions are taken to have it returned to him.
One thing that caught my attention between the two stories –
- I knew I was missing something within 10 minutes; my friend did not miss his iPad for perhaps several days. It has become a constant companion…
Less you think more of me and less of my friend, consider this: I have been just this panicked when looking for things I had left at other places – my keys, pen, pocket knife, shopping bag full of goodies, wallet – and this list is probably endless!
Let’s look at some scripture for a moment.
Rev 2:1-7 KJV Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (2) I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (4) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (6) But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (7) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Our scripture deals with things “left” and not necessarily “lost”.
If I could spend some time building the framework of Revelations 1 & 2, I would share these deep thoughts, but suffice it to say I will only lightly touch them today.
This first of the seven churches has had a reputation and God Knew Who They Were…
Rev 2:2-3 KJV I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Nevertheless: Rev 2:4 KJV Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
One’s first love is the kindness of one’s youth, and the love of one’s espousals. At church I shared many stories of my young love with my wife.
- I could not wait to be around her. Working the night shift balancing banks in downtown Houston, I would drive by her house late at night and she would have left notes and goodies behind the screen door or in the mailbox. Some nights I would work until late after midnight. Sometimes she would awake as I got the goodies and would flick the porch light on and off telling me hi…
- On nights that I got to see her, as I would leave she would flick the porch light on and off to say goodbye, and then run through the house and do the same with the back yard light as I circle the block.
- We laughed with each other, wept with each other, and seemed to never be tired of each others company.
These stories are endless! When you are young and in love then it seems like you cannot be around each other enough.
When you were Young in the Lord your focus was upon The Lord.
- You read your Word a lot, prayed often, fasted as often as you were called upon to do.
- You volunteered for Everything!
This is where Ephesus missed it… They were heavily involved in the function of the church, yet their First Love had faded.
God said that he longed for the love that Israel showed towards Him when they left Egypt and were so enamored over how He brought them out and led them through the wilderness and took them into a plentiful land of milk and honey. God missed that love that burned in them so strongly for Him – It was their first love, infatuation, as a young person falls in love for the first time. Yet over time it seems like they had lost their first love and turned from Him. (Jer. 2:1-3)
This is the first love that the Ephesus church lost. They continued in a lot of labour for God. They worked tirelessly. But those qualities were not the things that would determine if they remained connected to Jesus like a branch on a vine, grafted safely in Jesus.
If they were, then the Lord would have never warned them about being removed from Him. But He said that although they labored for God and worked furiously for the Lord, they lost the one thing that meant more than all of their work to Him — their first love for Jesus.
When we forget love for the Lord, we’ve lost everything. It does not matter how much we work for God, nor how much we appear to be tirelessly in labour for His kingdom. If we do not have that heart that beats for Him, Himself, then He’d just as soon have you cease all your labour and have nothing to do with Him at all.
It seems like we keep living the “tasks” that we were trained to do at some earlier point in life, but we do not have a “love” for Him.
There is still Hope…
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Overcomers are those who simply “over-come” an obstacle…
- Rom 12:19-21 KJV Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (20) Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
We can return to that First Love by Overcoming the obstacles that keep us from our First Love…