Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Rev 2:4).
The cold and dark time of year has come upon us. However, it won’t be that long until spring. It hardly looks like it at the moment but spring is surely on the way! In just a few months we’ll be working outside in our yards again. We’ll find peeling paint, growing winter weeds, split boards, rusted hinges and all manner of things that need fixing up. Soon the home centers will be insanely busy on Saturdays with people buying all sorts of plants and equipment to start putting their houses back into shape after the onslaught of winter.
Spring is when we see its time to repair (Ecl. 3:3), but “fall fixing” is important, too. Right now is a good time to take a close look at our personal lives. Marriages need some maintenance over time. Busy lives can grow away from one another. Little irritations left unresolved turn into resentments. Resentment ferments and becomes withdrawal, coldness or even bursts of anger. People don’t divorce over one event. They quit after long periods of neglect. When we neglect to keep investing the time, love, attention, forgiveness and caring that marriages require to stay healthy, that’s when they fail. They have “left their first love.”
Spiritual lives do not stay static either. They are constantly in motion. If we are not working to keep ourselves and our families focused on the service of God, then, whether we realize it or not, our spiritual strength is slipping away. It does not take long to “grow” out of the habit of going to worship regularly, as we so clearly saw last year. People who once loved to go to church and loved the Lord can allow the world to “pull” them away into other things. One day they may just look around and wonder, “when did we stop going to church? What happened to us?”
Every church has picture directories with page after page of faces that just no longer attend. Those individuals need to take stock of their lives. However, the church family they belong to needs to do some looking too. Churches that just shrug at the lost and missing have left their first love just as surely as those who are missing. It may be a while before “spring cleaning” is needed, but right now may be the perfect time for a little “fall fixing”. Let’s!
- Tim Orbison