"Unto the church of Ephesus write...I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil...And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."
In one brief announcement, my life suddenly got exponentially busier. I had been enjoying the rather laid back pace of winter life after a grueling summer and fall, and had expected it to continue for at least another month. The Lord didn't have it planned that way. Work at Everwilde Farms has begun again, plus an extremely demanding family music schedule to prepare for and travel to. Many other important, though not quite as newsworthy obligations fill in the cracks of my life to nearly bulging. Every spare moment I used to have now has several demands on it, and my head is spinning trying to take it all in.
Amidst this change of pace, the above verses struck me in a poignant and needed way the other morning. I've come face to face with the reality of how easy it is to serve and love the things God has given me to do, rather than God Himself. As one thing after another is demanding my attention, I have been acutely aware of how Satan has been trying to use these cares to encroach upon the most sacred priority of my life. How he would love to see my life so busy serving God that I neglect God Himself and my daily walk with Him.
I realized that God's complaint against Ephesus was exactly this! They were busy! They were diligent! They labored hard and bore patiently in all that God had given them to do. But they had lost their first love. They had ceased to delight in just sitting at His feet, and had allowed their work to become more important than God.
How easy it is to slip into a Martha mentality, instead of, like Mary, realizing what is truly important in life. The painful truth is, that when I allow my priorities to get mixed up, it not only affects my life, but my family and church's lives as well. I'm learning that a strong family, and a strong church springs from each person's individual walk with the Lord. If that is neglected, the whole body suffers. Is that sacrifice and loss really worth the temporal satisfaction of all I can say I've accomplished? Absolutely not!
As I stand on the brink of what looks an overflowing next eight months, I'm reminded that just as God has given me these things to do, He is also going to supply the grace to keep my priorities straight. God is already using this time of stretching to reveal to me areas where my affection for, and ties to the things in this life are much stronger than they should be. As I realize that, He's also increasing my desire to have that affection set fully on Him.
That, to me, is exciting!
May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire!
As Thou hast died for me, O may my love for Thee,
Pure, warm, and changeless be, a living fire!