"Who's #1?" This was the title of last Sunday's sermon. It was not a sports question. (Incidentally, the UK Wildcats are #4 in this week's polls.) For our purposes last Sunday, "Who's #1?" was a personal question: "Who's #1--who has first place, top priority--in your life?" Affirming the biblical mandate that God is to have top priority--to have #1 ranking--in our lives, we examined a three-fold formula designed to help us demonstrate that God really is our Lord, that we really do regard our Lord Jesus Christ as #1. Here is the formula: 1) First Day; 2) First Fruits; and 3) First Thoughts.
1) First Day--Worship the Lord at church on the first day (Sunday) each week. Setting aside one special day to worship God is a visible demonstration and testimony of our belief that all of our days belong to God.
2) First Fruits--God's people of Old Testament days gave the first portion of their harvest (the crops, their "income") as an offering to God. This reminded them that God was the Source of all of their blessings--that the Lord was the Ultimate Owner of all possessions and "income" with which they had been entrusted and given. Following this pattern, we give God the first portion of the income we receive--the "first fruits" of our income. This is an ongoing reminder that all of our income and possessions really belong to God. Giving a "first fruits" offering (which for me and many Christians is the first 10%, a tithe, of our income) enables us to honor God with the "first" portion of our income, rather than giving God the "leftovers."
3) First Thoughts--Developing the discipline of thinking of God (and of thanking God) first thing in the morning is an excellent way of dedicating your entire day to the Lord, of striving to be a good representative of God's love in all of your thoughts and actions. Many people find it helpful to think of a scripture verse as the day begins. Psalm 118:24 is one such "first thoughts" verse. "This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it."
The Thanksgiving Season is a most appropriate time to evaluate our commitment to making God #1 in our lives. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday for Sunday School, morning worship, and our Family Thanksgiving Feast. This Sunday (Commitment Sunday) will provide all of us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that God is #1 as we practice the disciplines of First Day, First Fruits, and First Thoughts.