In our lives, we place a great amount of importance on being first. I am reminded by my younger son, the competitive nature in some children to be the first person in their class to finish their school work. I can remember wanting to be first in line to go to the lunch room, water fountain, or even to the playground. Often times as an adult, I find myself wanting to get something done first that’s important to me. Before I can do this, I must first do this or that. My hard working wife, (may God bless her) will often times say, “I must first balance the check-book, fold clothes, and unload the dishwasher” before she can sit down with me in the evening to visit and watch a little TV together. Often times I tell my kids that, “I have to get this blog entry written before I can play video games with them”. It’s all about priorities. What is my focus, and what is more important to me? I wanted to read a few verses from Jesus that contained the word first as found from the book of Luke.
How can you say to your friend, 'Let me take the bit of sawdust out of your eye'? How can you say this while there is a piece of wood in your own eye? You pretender! First take the piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you will be able to see clearly to take the bit of sawdust out of your friend's eye. - Luke 6:42
If I do not actively seek to find fault with others, then neither will I be judged with close examination. If I do not hold others accountable for their faults, then neither will I be found guilty for mine. If I am able to completely let go of a wrong that someone caused me, then I too will be forgiven. If I am able to give to others who are in need, then I will also receive more blessings than I can imagine. By the same methods of judgment, forgiveness, and benevolence that I administer, then same will be given to me. - Luke 6:37, Luke 6:38. There is only One who is in a position to judge me or anyone else and his name is Jesus. - Psalm 9:8. First things first – I must worry about getting my own life in order and concentrate on following Jesus’ teachings because I realize I will never be perfect and therefore I cannot judge others for something I cannot keep myself.
Once, Jesus and those who were with him were walking along the road. A man said to Jesus, "I will follow you no matter where you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes. Birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let dead people bury their own dead. You go and tell others about God's kingdom." Still another man said, "I will follow you, Lord. But first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "Suppose you start to plow and then look back. If you do, you are not fit for service in God's kingdom." - Luke 9:57-62
Those who choose to follow Christ must first prepare themselves to endure all discomforts. But the choice should not be done precipitously, hastily, or without long consideration. One must first consider - long and hard to make a life long commitment to serve Christ. One must first count the cost. Those who are called by God ought to consider the calling one of preference by God and count His calling to be the most important calling - even beyond the temporary, pseudo-obligations that we bind ourselves with – outside of God’s will. Those who follow Christ must at once renounce all worldly cares.
"When you enter a house, first say, 'May this house be blessed with peace.'" - Luke 10:5
Bless someone’s house after you enter before you do anything else. When you enter a house, first say, 'May this house be blessed with peace'. God is pleased with hospitable people, so offer up a blessing to someone's house and home so that God may return the blessing to your host. God is also pleased with thankful people, so we should be grateful for hospitable people and ask God's blessing on them. God is also pleased with peaceful people, so by first being peaceful to others, we may open a door of opportunity for someone to see Christ living in us. Ephesians 2:17, Jude 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, James 3:18
Just briefly, we can see that there are things that should be accomplished – first. There are things in this life that are important enough to remember to get right on the front-end. However, there are also some Christian characteristics that are better off in second place.
Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, "Try very hard to enter through the narrow door. I tell you, many will try to enter and will not be able to. The owner of the house will get up and close the door. Then you will stand outside knocking and begging. You will say, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you. And I don't know where you come from.' "Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.' "But he will reply, 'I don't know you. And I don't know where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil!' "You will sob and grind your teeth when you see those who are in God's kingdom. You will see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets there. But you yourselves will be thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south. They will take their places at the feast in God's kingdom. Then the last will be first. And the first will be last." - Luke 13:23-30