He was a stern-faced bearded man, draped in robes, bearing an upright sword in his right hand and documents in his left hand. It was the grand Basilica of St. Paul in Rome, Italy. This massive marble sculpture of the Apostle Paul greeted my wife and me as we entered the hallowed grounds of his tomb. I was overwhelmed and filled with awe. Was it because the Apostle’s body was actually buried here? Was it because I shared his name? I could not explain why I felt such a deep connection with this basilica compared to the many other amazing sites when we first visited in Rome in 2007, but it was my favorite.
Taking copious photos, I was anxious to share them with my friends and family. Before the ubiquitous social media sites that billions now utilize, I managed a website which I used to post family photos. These photos were posted in 2007 and recently, I read the copy I placed under the photograph of the massive sculpture of St. Paul. “Our visit to St. Paul’s Basilica was inspiring and helped me to reconnect with my Christian faith.”
Reconnect with my faith?
I was embarrassed to read this. Why would I write this? Was my faith so anemic and distant that I had to reconnect with it? I reflected for a moment and shook my head. Sadly, at that time in my life, my walk with God was an afterthought. Our family had two young children, the oldest just beginning school. I was focused on building my medical practice, shuttling between several different distant locations. Time was in short supply and I sacrificed my relationship with God to make up for it. Instead of taking the lead as the spiritual head of our family, I used my responsibilities as an excuse to push God aside.
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Revelation 2:4 (NKJV)
God never leaves me, I leave God. He will never leave me nor forsake me. In far too many times in my life, I have compromised my relationship with Him and justified it by devoting time to other relationships. My marriage, family, and jobs are noble and important relationships but these should never take the place of my most important relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord, and Savior. He is my first Love and if I am to live the fulfilled and abundant life that God created me to have, I must first remain faithful to Him.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.