"Jesus spoke to me", she said as we met for the second day of a week long de-briefing. She reached for her Bible and started reading Jesus' words to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-4.
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first.
She cried softly as she continued. "I looked into His eyes and He told me that I lost my first love for Him". We left her that day with the following question: If Jesus is not your first love, who or what is taking his place?
The next day, this seasoned, gentle and hard-working missionary came back with the answer. Jesus gently pointed it out and convicted her. "It is me" she said. "I love myself more than I love Jesus."
Her honest and down to earth answer made me think. How would we answer if asked who or what our first love is? How many of us would have to answer in exactly the same way? Would we have the honesty to say that the biggest love of our lives is ourselves?
Our deeds, our hard work and our perseverance are obvious to all. Our enduring hardship for Jesus' name is praised by our churches and supporters. And Jesus too sees and praises them!
But what about our first love? Do we still love Jesus more than anything else? What if nothing else mattered?
Jesus was very clear what the first and greatest commandment is. He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
Loving ourselves and our neighbors is only second. Sometimes, like the missionary mentioned above, I have the tendency to mix the order of those two commandments up...
How about you? Is Jesus still the first love in your life? If not, who or what is?
Photo by Courtney Toana on Unsplash