Over the years, I have managed to see most of the episodes; but not all of them. Recently, I happened upon one I had never seen. I now know it to have been episode 8, from the first season, titled “Beaver’s Crush”, having originally aired in November of 1957.
The title pretty much gives away the plot. First grader Theodore “Beaver” Clever develops a crush on his teacher, Ms. Canfield. As you can imagine, once his true feeling inevitably come to light, this soon creates turmoil in his life. Ms. Canfield is replaced after season one with Ms. Landers, whom Beaver will also develop a crush on in a later episode.
I can relate all too well to Beaver’s predicament. Like many red-blooded American boys, I too had crushes on more than one of my teachers. One that stands out in particular was when I once fell head over heels for Ms. Marbutt, who attempted to teach me Spanish in the 7th grade.
I still remember the price I paid for this, just as Beaver’s crushes cost him. It happened this way. I had somehow learned how to count to ten in Spanish long before I ever enrolled in this class. So, finding myself stricken with affection for my new teacher, and wanting desperately to impress her, I eagerly raised my hand on the first day of class and, when called upon, proudly announced to her that I could count to ten!
That was it. That was all I said. Only too late did I realize my mistake, in that I had not stated clearly that I could count to ten “in Spanish”! I remember that there was a long, pregnant pause, as Ms. Marbutt stood looking at a 7th grader proudly announcing that he could count all the way to ten!
Finally, she smiled, and in a voice conveying pity, stated simply, “That’s good.” I do not know how many shades of red there are; but I probably turned every one of them in the next minute. Trust me - quite a lengthy period of time passed before I ever spoke another word in that class.
Fortunately, I have long since gotten over Ms. Marbutt, as well as all of the other teachers I ever “fell in love” with. To be sure, I am thankful for their respective roles in my life. But I do not carry any particular torch for them, at least not in the sense that I once did.
All of this brings me to my point. Did you ever have such an experience? Do you recall your own first love? Or have you long ago forgotten that individual?
Such a question matters because I am not the only one to ask it. In many respects, the Lord Himself also asks this question of you and me, as He does of anyone who purports to be His follower. We find Him doing this in the New Testament Book of Revelation (chapter 2, verse 4), when He tells the Christians at Ephesus: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
It seems that the Ephesian believers had at some point been far more passionate about their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, than they were when John was directed to write these words to them. Of course, we do not know all the details. We do not know what interfered with that passion. We just know it happened. And we also know that, if we are not careful, the same thing can happen to us.
Years ago, preachers used to talk about believers becoming “backslidden”. I remember hearing one particular evangelist who defined what it means to be backslidden. He said that if there was ever any point in one’s past when he or she was more passionate about Jesus Christ than now, then that individual is technically backslidden.
The Bible tells us repeatedly that God loves us. But it also tells us that He is a jealous God! He does not long suffer other passions within the hearts of His people! And He continually asks us one fundamental question: “Have you left Me, your first love?”
That is a question we must each address. No one else can answer it for for you. no one else can answer it for me. But it must be answered.
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