Be First

by Joanna Pierce on October 23, 2019

Being first is an interesting concept. As a child, you want to be first in everything—standing in line, receiving a snack, playing with a toy, taking a ride, and especially when it comes to trying something new. We don’t care what we look like or consider the outcome. We just want to be first.

As adults, we’ve realized a key component in life. Embarrassment is a very real emotion. Therefore, as we’ve grown older, we intentionally drift back from first place. We’ve learned that “first” doesn’t always equate to a positive thing or experience. We’d rather let someone go first, see how they fare, and learn from their mistakes.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t want to be first. If anyone approaches me and asks me to try something, if I find out no one else has done it before, my knee-jerk reaction is, “no thanks.” I don’t want to be someone’s guinea pig. Plus, there’s this ego thing, which I’m fairly certain everyone deals with. I don’t want to put myself out there and look stupid.

While Scripture does admonish us to put others first (as a sacrificial action) (Matthew 20:16), that doesn’t hold true in every case of being first. There is a time when we shouldn’t be paving the way for others to get in front of us:

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore (John 21:7–8, NLT).

Peter was a disciple who exemplified going after the right “firsts.” While fishing, John spotted Jesus on the shore; word quickly spread to the rest of the disciples. Peter’s companions immediately became consumed with coming to a convenient stopping place in their task. But, Peter didn’t stand around and wait for everyone to get back to shore. Instead, he jumped off the boat and swam to meet the Lord. If anyone was going to feel, touch, or experience the power of Christ first, it was going to be Him.

What a model for the church to follow! So often in our church services, we wait for someone else to step out before we respond to God’s presence. When out running errands, we shyly wait for someone else to step up and pray with that person in the middle of the grocery aisle. But, this isn’t the time to wait, hold back, or be second or third. It’s time to be first.

We’re living in a time where God’s calling His church to be on fire for Him—to embrace and engage without hesitation and to emulate an eagerness to be in His presence. If God’s moving, we need to step into the flow. Don’t wait for someone else! Be first and receive a touch from God. If someone’s in need of prayer, don’t sit on the sidelines, but boldly approach the throne of grace and pray for them.

In these instances, we can’t assume someone else will eventually step up to be first. It must be us. We can’t be concerned about what we look like, how we’ll feel, or what others will think. Our relationship with Christ is between Him and us. We’re first. And, a part of that relational order is being a vessel for His use. That includes acting first, being available first, saying yes first, etc.

If you’ve been harboring an excuse for why you’re second, third, or fourth to get in touch with God or be used in His Kingdom, drop the excuse today and start anew. Today’s the first day of the rest of your life with Him and you can make the commitment now to step out and be first.