To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ... I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2:1-5)

An artist visiting an elementary school asked this same question of every class, grades 1-6: "How many artists are there in the room? Would you please raise your hands?"

The pattern of responses never varied as he traveled from one school to another.

First Grade:
En mass, the children leapt from their chairs, arms waving wildly, eager hands trying to reach the ceiling. Every child was an artist.

Second Grade:
About half the kids raised their hands, shoulder high, no higher. The raised hands were still.

Third Grade:
At best, 10 kids out of 30 would raise a hand. Tentatively. Self-consciously.

And so on up through the grades. The higher the grade, the fewer children raised their hands. By the time the artist reached sixth grade, no more than one or two did so, and then only ever so slightly, guardedly, their eyes glancing from side to side uneasily, betraying a fear of being identified by the group as a "closet artist."

What happened to all those artists?
What happened to all those artists between the first grade and sixth grade? Did they all transfer to art school?

The same question might be asked of Christians in their second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth year of following Christ. What happen to that initial commitment, that zeal for Christ, and that desire to share their story with friends and family?

A tragic phenomenon occurs as churches, teachers, and preachers seek to mold people into images that are unlike God. New Christians are often molded into an image — our image — and lose touch with the transforming power of God. Convicting thoughts for teachers and students.

(Inspiration for this article was found in Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie)