Yesterday I had the privilege of getting out on the water with my good buddies Brent and Bert. For as hot as it was and under sunny skies, we had a really good day of fishing. We probably caught 20 or more speckled trout, a few puppy drum, several bluefish, and one houndfish (marsh marlin to us kayak freaks!). But you see, this was not just another day of fishing for us. It was the first time Brent has been able to get on a boat in quite a few months since having surgery on his shoulder and having to complete therapy. It was also the first time he had fished on his new boat that he purchased back in February. For Bert, yesterday was the first time that he had ever purchased a saltwater fishing license or even fished in saltwater for that matter, so it was a big first for him, and ironically, he wound up catching the first fish of the day. It was also the first time either of them had caught a fish on a popping cork set-up, which is something Brent had been wanting to do for quite some time. So you see, it really was a day of firsts for our group in a lot of different aspects.
Last night I was reflecting back on our day on the water and the many firsts we had. I recalled how excited Brent and I were, not to see how big of a speckled trout we could catch, but rather to pass on our love for saltwater fishing to Bert who had not experienced it before. I was reminded of how excited, in a very similar way, Christ followers are when they first ask Him for His forgiveness and guidance in their lives, and how passionate they are to share His good news with those around them. And for those of us who have been believers for some time, I was reminded of John's cautionary letter to the church in Ephesus, where he states "...I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, 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 your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place..." (Revelation 2:2-5). In going back to meditate on this scripture passage, I was made aware of how quickly I can get wrapped up in all the going, doing, and serving like many of us do, but doing it all while forgetting and forsaking my first love, Jesus, the sole reason and purpose for why we live and breathe and serve in the various ways and places that each of us do.
So I encourage you today to examine your lives to see if you have forsaken your first love, and if you find that you have, make sure you re-prioritize and put first things first. Keep Jesus the heart of your 'story', and the reason why you go and do and serve in your community. - GE