Have you ever experienced the power of being first? The favoritism that comes with being first-born, the added bonuses you get for being first in line, and even the boost to your ego when you’re told that “you are first to arrive”. Children fight over their possessions by trying to convince the witnessing adult that they had it first and of course whoever indeed had it first is the owner of it, although no names are written, no contracts signed, first is first. We honor firsts by giving them credit for beginning historical change. We memorialize firsts with anniversaries and gifts to solidify the memory. There is so much importance on people and things being first and yet when it comes to God, somehow, we’re OK with Him being some random number on a list of our priorities.
Our hands are exposed to several germs throughout the day as we give out encouraging high fives and business handshakes. Even with 27 bones forming this part of our anatomy it’s still one of the easiest body parts to break and one of the most vital. The metaphorical saying “taking your life into your own hands” is less of a motivation when we think about how fragile our hands actually are. When God asks us to put Him first, to trust Him with all things, He’s asking us to remove our lives from our own hands. Would you allow a toddler to hold a priceless family heirloom while running down a slippery hall with their eyes closed? Of course not! Likewise, our lives are far too valuable to be trusted to our own hands and putting God first allows His plans of perfection to take precedence.
There are systems in place to keep humanity’s moral compass pointing north and religion is one of those systems. It is used to motivate and encourage but also, it’s used as a crutch and cripples those searching for more than just doing good. Religion teaches us to “do” good, relationship with Christ teaches us to “be” good. We’ve learned how to use good works as a payment plan to God in order to substitute the bad that we do. That kind of currency holds no value but rather enforces a perpetual ignorance that supports our morality. It’s all fluff. How can we support ourselves on a diet of empty calories? Putting God first means that our relationship with Him is so intense and so involved that when we do good works, we know that it’s really Him doing it through us and we are just the blessed vessels who get to say “yes”.
Here are our lives summed up in a sentence: We’re born, we grow, we get schooling, we get married, we have children, we retire, then we die. We don’t put the cart before the horse. We are creatures of habit and we are really good at setting up our lives from birth to death, filling it with priorities. It’s not wrong to work 18-hour days to put food on your family’s table, it isn’t wrong to study for hours on end to pass your finals and, it isn’t a bad thing to spend a week away on vacation doing absolutely nothing. What God is asking for is to be a part of your decisions and ultimately your life. He’s actually interested in how tired you are at the end of your day; He wants to give you rest. God is actually interested in you passing your exams; He cheers you on as you study. He’s actually involved with all your worries; He gets giddy in your excitement over being able to vacation. God just wants to be first in your decision making. He wants the honor of you coming to Him because He holds all the answers. History teaches us that we live in a world of firsts and we revere them so perhaps with the same reverence we need to honor the First of firsts, the Alpha and the Omega, our God; the Beginning and the End. Trust Him, He was here first.