Sunday, December 10, 2006

Loving and Doing

Some years ago, when I was still single, I drove down to southern California to meet George, the uncle of one of my housemates. He was associated with a rescue mission in southern California, and I wanted to hear some of the things he had learned about life, and to see what kinds of things I might do to lend a hand. I never did end up working with him, but I do remember talking with him about this verse from today's reading:
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.
from Revelation 2.4-5
If it's not familiar, this passage is from a vision that the apostle John saw — in particular, it's from a letter dictated to the angel of the church in Ephesus.

Anyway, George expressed to me that he'd been feeling like he wasn't as enthusiastic about the Lord's work as he once was, and referred to this passage. What did I think, he asked me.

I told him that although I'd never been married, I guessed that on some days he woke up not feeling as crazily in love with his wife as he might have in the past. He allowed as this was so. I also guessed that on other days, things were great in that department. Apparently I was on a roll. And I think I noticed the last sentence quoted above: "Repent and do the things you did at first" (emphasis mine), and mentioned that to him as well.

Looking back on that conversation, it seems to me that he was an amazingly humble man, asking this twentysomething kid for advice. Well, it wasn't advice actually; more likely he knew that wisdom sometimes comes "out of the mouths of babes"; God spoke through a donkey at least once, too!

That came back to me today as I read this passage. If discretion is the better part of valor, then maybe doing is the better part of loving? Which reminds me of something our Lord said more than once: If you love me, you will obey my commands.

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