So the new season of Lineage is out now. A look at the 7 churches of Revelation. There is something immensely intriguing about these seven churches and the seven cities they were established in.
Let’s talk about Ephesus for a minute. Ephesus was a glamour city. Swathed in the mystery of being a significant harbour on the Mediterranean, it was abuzz with merchants and sailors, pilgrims and passengers, thronging the narrow winding streets, revelling in the salt laced air and indulging in all the vagaries and vices that the city had to offer.
Not only was Ephesus teeming it was also charismatic. It was alive. It’s no wonder then that Paul found himself drawn to preach the gospel in Ephesus. For all it’s vibrancy and sheen, Ephesus was a city full of jostling souls who were lost.
For all their cosmopolitan charms Ephesians were adrift on the sea of life. Existentially they grappled with the same questions we all do; questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny but the answers they had available to them were limited at best and downright inadequate at worst.
Paul preached the gospel at Ephesus and then went on to set up a training school there which became a center of spiritual influence for the whole of Asia Minor. Thanks to Paul and Silas Ephesus became known for something more than just its commercial prowess. It became a gospel city, a spiritual lighthouse that launched missionaries out into the farthest reaches of a pagan society to bring light and hope.
Unfortunately, by the time John wrote to the Ephesians, the church had sunk very low. John told them that they had lost their first love. They were active but empty. Vivacious but vacuous. They needed to return to their roots. They needed to remember why they were doing what they were doing.
Have you ever engaged in a round of activity for a prolonged period of time only to suddenly realize that you didn’t even know why you were doing what you were doing in the first place?
In the endless cycle of activity and business we can sometimes lose sight of what matters; the why. As Simon Sinek says in his groundbreaking book; start with Why.
At Ephesus, they began with a clear understanding of why and then somewhere along the way they forgot. John sent them a PSA to remind them. To redirect them.
Do you need a PSA in your life today? A little reminder to stop, slow down and take stock? To pause and breathe and look around at the flurry of activity that has now become your life and to ask yourself a single, simple question; why?
Why do I do what I do?
If you can’t answer that question then you need a little recalibrating of your heart muscle before you keep going.
Jesus told the Ephesians “I know your works and your labor and your patience…nevertheless I have somewhat against you because you have left your first love”
The Church at Ephesus was busy and active but they had forgotten why they were busy and active. Jesus wanted to remind them. In the book Patriarchs and Prophets, Ellen White writes “God desires from all His creatures the service of love; service that springs from an appreciation of his character”
Busy Christians need to ask themselves a single fundamental question; why am I busy for God? Is it because I know Him? Because I love Him? That is really the only reason we should be engaged in his service. Love. Deep, unbounded love that flows out of our hearts and our souls as joyful service to the God our hearts are knit with.
Service that is nothing more than duty, is not only empty, it is also fruitless. Jesus longs for us to remember our first love.
Stop for a moment. Start with why.