Every Saturday, my kids go to their swimming lessons. My job as a Dad is very simple: get them ready and read a book while they swim. I always take time away from my reading to watch their progress. This week, what stood out to me is how fearless kids are when they jump into the water. I watched as my youngest was told to jump in and with out so much as a ‘toe test’, she did.
It made me remember the days when I saw a lake or a pool, all I wanted to do was jump in. I wondered what has changed. Not long ago, there was nothing more enjoyable than a good swim. But, as time passed, the water became less and less appealing. In my childhood, I wouldn’t question the weather or the temperature of the water. Into my youth, I would start to ask questions like, “How cold is the water?” The answer wouldn’t stop me from going in.
Somewhere in my aging process, the questions began to stack up. How cold is the water? What is the temperature? Did I bring a towel? Do I want to get my hair wet? Today, I am a beach sitter. I watch closely as my kids play in the water. They never ask me how cold the water is, but I know that one day soon, they will. As time goes on, we sit more and more on the sidelines of life, remembering the days when nothing could stop us from jumping in.
As I reflected, I started to think that is exactly what the church looks like. There was a time when those people in the pews used to love to jump into service. A day when we couldn’t help but share our faith or volunteer for more than we could handle. We didn’t ask if the water was fine, we just jumped in. But, at some point, we became less concerned with the things that really mattered.
Today’s church is not alone. It is this same philosophy of church that John wrote about to the church in Ephesus. At one time, this was a great church, but something changed. Jesus says to the church, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first (Rev. 2:4-5).” These words, spoken so long ago, still resound within the church walls today. What is it that has drawn us away? What is it that has caused us to focus so hard on the temporal? What do we need to do to return to the way we once behaved?
There is no easy answer to these questions, but there is something we can do. Repent. We need to go before God and search our souls, and remove that which holds us back from jumping in. We are never too old to go back to our first love. And God is never closed to take us back.