There are few things more frustrating: I am on the hunt for something I have misplaced. I'm always sure that the item sprouted wings but in the end I discover it right where I left it.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated when something is gone and we don’t realize it. The church at Ephesus in the book of Revelation comes to mind. The constituents were hard working and full of good deeds. They had persevered and endured hardship in the name of Christ without growing weary. They were even able to discern true apostleship. All of these are signs of a healthy, vibrant church. And let’s face it, they looked pretty good. But before we are quick to say “sign me up” you may remember that there was one critical ingredient that was missing.
They had lost their First Love.
And I wonder. Isn't the greater tragedy not that it happened, but that they were unaware and functioning well without knowing it? And this thought terrifies me.
Because it means that a church can look good while relying on the strength of man but be a counterfeit of the living breathing Bride of Christ.
The church here in North America is equipped in so many ways. We have wealth, education, and giftedness. There are programs to fit every need, multiple pastors to minister and support groups for our dysfunctions. While these are all good things, I wonder if we are too fat... too well cared for. Have we begun to lean upon our own understanding, upon the "institution" of church rather than upon our First Love? Has our excellence surpassed our Love? The Bible says what we treasure will also be the location of our heart so perhaps that's the place to start looking.
As a nurse I know that one of the signs of impending death in a terminal illness is often an absence of hunger. The body shuts down, quietly closing its doors to the sustenance of life. Likewise, when the Bride loses her appetite for the Bridegroom, the perils of death await us.
May God save us from ourselves and renew our love for the true Bread of Life..