PASTOR'S PEN: Nothing but first

If you've ever watched the interviews at the end of a NASCAR race, you'll find those who ended up in second, third and fourth aren't usually satisfied with their finish. They weren't racing to finish second; they were racing to finish first. The problem is that out of 42 drivers, only one can finish first. There aren't two first place trophies. There's only one. There aren't two victory lanes. There's only one. Only one driver will get first place.

The same thing is true in life. Only one can be first. In Matthew 6:24 Christ says, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." We cannot have a second first place thing in our lives. Only God — or something else — can be first, not both.

Later, in Luke 14:33 Christ says this, "... any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." God is not looking to be second in your life. Like a NASCAR driver, God is not satisfied with second place. Everything else must fall behind God and His desires.

This is a principle all throughout Scripture. Even the Ten Commandments begin with "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3) And Luke 14:26 tells us, "If anyone comes to Me (Jesus Christ) and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple." After a statement like that do you really think God would be satisfied sharing first place? I don't think so.

So I give to you the same exclamation as Joshua gave to the people of Israel, "Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness ... But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose this day whom you will serve ..." Whom are you going to serve? Only one can be first.