The work that the Lord considers precious and good is the work that comes out of our first love for the Lord.
The seeker in the Song of Songs has passed through many processes and was transformed until she arrived to the stage where she tells her Beloved, Let us rise up early for the vineyards; let us see if the vine has budded, if the blossom is open, if the pomegranates are in bloom; there I will give you my love (S. S. 7:12).
Our work with the Lord should come out of our love for Him, and in the churches (in the vineyards) we should render our love to the Lord by taking care of the saints. In the midst of the Lord’s work we give Him our love (Mark 12:30).
an absolute union with the Lord in life
When we love the Lord, we seek to be one with Him in what He is doing today. Just as the seeker / the maiden in Song of Songs, we are going through a long process to be transformed and be qualified to work with the Lord.
As we become one with the Lord in life, our interest becomes more what the Lord’s interest is, and we want to work with Him and give Him our love.
In Song of Songs 7:12 we see that the seeker is liberated from her own issues and problems, and she is interested in the affairs of the saints, in those who show signs of life. As long as there’s a sign of the divine life in the saints, no matter who they are, where they are, where they meet, etc, we care for them in an absolute union with the Lord.
How we need to grow in life, to be transformed in our natural life, and to give the Lord our best love in working with Him, so that His interest in the saints and in all the believers who contain the divine life would become our interest also!
giving the Lord our love in working with Him
“There I will give You my love” – in working with the Lord, we give Him our love. It used to be that because we serve the Lord so much, we didn’t have time to listen to Him at His feet, but we would be rather much distracted by the work.
When we are immature, the work may not improve or increase our love for the Lord, but would rather exhaust us and even put a barried between us and Him. But as we experience transformation, as we grow in life, as we reach the stage of maturity, we are becoming able to love the Lord in our work for Him.
We can express our love to the Lord even in the place of His work. We are getting there – we will eventually work with the Lord as an expression of our love for Him, and we will become one with Him in an absolute way, giving Him our love even while we work with Him.
the first works issuing out of the first love
There is a strong relationship between our first love for the Lord and our first works (Rev. 2:4-5) – the first love issues in the first works, and the first works come out of our first love for the Lord.
When we are filled with the first love toward the Lord, everything that we do issues from and expresses our love for Him. When we love the Lord with our best love, our first love, we will work together with the Lord, our Beloved, for the Body (Eph. 3:19; 4:16).
This is what the Lord considers as precious – not the outwardly great things or amazing works that we can do for Him, but the work that issues out of our first love for Him.
You can say that, outwardly speaking, the first works (which issue out of our first love for the Lord) are very similar to the good works that the Ephesians did and the Lord mentioned in Rev. 2:1-5. But the source, the power, and the goal of those works is different – the works may be similar, but the power that motivates the works is different.
The first works are motivated by the first love, while the other works may be motivated by our zeal, our natural being, or any other good cause / matter. If we work with the Lord for His Body out of our love for Him, with the intention of love, our work will be a work of love and it will build up the Body of Christ.
Today, in the degradation of the church, when the love of many toward the Lord has grown cold, we need to come to the Lord desperately and ask Him to rekindle our love for Him.
The Lord doesn’t want us to do many works for Him – He is the Lord, and the work He needs to be done will be done. What He desires is to have many loving seekers who love Him with the best love, the first love, and do the first works which are motivated by the first love.
We need to come to Him and receive the power of love from Him so that we can do the first works, so that we can work with the Lord for His Body by giving our love for Him in our work with Him.
Lord Jesus, we love You. Increase our love for You, Lord. We want to love You with our first love, with our best love. May everything we do and say come out of our first love for You. We desire to have the first works, Lord, the works that are motivated by our love for You. Save us from just working – we want to work with You by giving You our best love even at the place of our work with You! Lord, we love You!
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee (vol. 37, ch. 36), and, The Song of Songs (by Watchman Nee, pages 111-112), as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Taking the Lead as Elders and Responsible Ones, week 8.
- Buy the morning revival book online via LSM.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Loving You, Lord’s all I’m living for; / Loving You, Lord, to the uttermost.
# The goal of the gospel is that, / Loving the Lord Jesus / With the first love, / We would pour out upon Him.
# To Ephesus, the word is clear: / “To your first love you’re not so near; / You’ve left to work so far away; / Repent, return to Him today.”
- Picture source: loving the Lord.