Mike Tuttleson was an average man. He worked a ranch for the majority of his life just south of Livingston Texas. If you where to ask anyone of him, their response would be, “Mike is a hard worker, and he is good to his family”. Mike was one of those men, who went above and beyond in all he did, his wife became interested in art not to long ago, and before you could shake a stick, Mike had built a studio for her on the backside of their home facing the west, so as the sun set, her work would catch the light of the passing day. Mike was known for this type of love for his family. Whatever he did, he did in complete dedication to his family.
As time grew on, as it always does, Mike’s family moved forward in the ways of life, His children grew up and left home, and His farm turned from a working farm into more of just a vast pasture. It was some point along this time, that Mikes heart became somewhat different. He was sitting with his wife in her studio, late one evening; the sun had just set as he looked at his wife with tears in his eyes. She turned to him and asks him what was wrong. His reply could have knocked the rock from the very foundation of their home. Mr. Tuttleson went on to tell his wife, that though they had been married for almost forty years his emotion for her was no longer the same. He did still care for her, and he knew he needed to be there for her, and he promised he always would. He went on to tell her, that all would stay the same, except for his feelings for her where gone and he did not for see them coming again. After his wife gathered her composure, she managed to ask him when this all change took place. Mike told her he could not put a date on it, but he knows that throughout his life he has done things, of necessity, and what he thought was the right thing to do. What had started of as a deep love for her, had been overtaken by the cares of providing and supplying for his families needs. This was no longer pure love, it had more so become, just a way of life. It took his wife all that she had, to turn and gaze out the window, into the darkness of the pasture, and remember that she loved this man, and though this has come, she would continue to do so as long as she had breath in her lungs.
Mike and his wife, continued to live as one, for the remaining days of their lives. Mike passed at the young age of eighty two. After his burial one of his friends walked up to his wife and assured her, she had been blessed by having a husband like Mike, one who had dedicated his life, to the well being of his family, and rendered his love to her alone. His wife in utter despair choked back her tears and only nodded, for unknown to all around, her heart had not died that day, but many years prior, for the sun had set, and it was to never rise again.
Our Lord speaks of love often in His word. I am guilty of becoming callused to this word; in modern society it is tossed around as much as “hello” or “good bye” in common conversation. During Paul’s letter to the church in Cornith, he tells them “and now abide in faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love”. (1CR 13:13) Paul states prior that “If I speak in tongues of Men and of Angels, and have not Love, I am but a resounding gong, or clanging cymbal”. In my weak interpretation, if I walk in faith, and, and hope in all earnesty, if I have not love, I am nothing. This speaks volumes to me, and I feel God has been convicting me of this for some time now. What are the reasons for which I do, what I do. For though I do what I do because I know it is the right thing to do, am I doing it out of Love or out of devotion? Furthermore if what I do is out of devotion, can this be brought in and twisted as a “love”?
In Ephesians, Paul is closing his letter to the Church in Ephesus, he states, “Grace be with all them who Love our Lord, Jesus Christ in sincerity”. (Eph 6:24)I have skipped over this simple yet deep word no telling how many times. “Love our Lord, Jesus Christ in sincerity”. Sincerity as described in the dictionary is “pure; unmixed; unadulterated”. For me to do anything that is not of sincere love, and label it as for the for “Christ” is nothing more than an act of devotion.
I recently began a study, of the book of Revelation. It is being taught by Charles Swindoll. In this study, we are taken to the second chapter of Revelation, where the Church of Ephesus is addressed yet again. The Lord says unto the church “I know your deeds, your hard work and perseverance. I know that you can not 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 endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love”. It is a tremendous statement, because as we read in Ephesians we know of this Love. This love was for Christ, and it was to be a sincere love, a pure; unmixed; unadulterated love. So though the church, has remained faithful, and done all listed things, this is there downfall. They are warned, to repent, and to do things as they did them at first, or the Lord will remove their lamp stand.
At this point I am sure you are asking yourself, how this is possible, to do everything right, yet forget ones love? As with Mike Tuttleson and his relationship with his wife, I as a Christian, fall into love with my Savior. I begin to structure my life around His priorities. I become involved in a church, and devote my time to its correct functioning. Yet all the while it becomes more of a way of life, than a reason for life. As I sit down and look out the window of time, and realize that many of the things I was doing where not out of Love for my Lord, but more because they where what was expected of me, and what society mandated as a correct lifestyle. This is an adulterated love. At this point, I have lost touch and forgotten my First Love. I have become a resounding gong, a clanging cymbal. For though I may walk in faith, pray for the sick, tithe of my gifts, and of my increase, and whatever else may come along it boils down to the simple fact that if I do all this, for any other reason than for the love of my Lord, it is in vain.
I challenge you as I do myself, to look at your life. Do you do, what you do out of a Sincere Love for your Lord? If not, then fast and pray, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and interpret this as you will.
(for the sake of all involved, Mike Tuttleson is a fictional character)