September 17

Written by Bill Grandi on September 17th, 2019

My title for this devotion is First or Second Best.

There is always a battle going on as to whether we want to be first or second. Run a race and it was commonly said, “Second place is like kissing your sister.” Basketball. Baseball. You name it. Second place was always seen as…well…second. Close but no cigar. Being first motivates an athlete. When I played basketball I had the drive to be good. In a game, to be the best. I was not a good loser. Very competitive. I was once playing a rather lackluster game for the first quarter or so, when the opposing center elbowed me in the eye and split my eyelid open. I hid it from the coaches for a minute or so until they saw blood running down my cheek. They put a butterfly bandage on it and after that I played the game the other center dreaded. Second place was unacceptable. (I did go to the ER afterwards and receive stitches). When I lost that edge, I knew it was time to hand up the shoes. The edge was gone and I didn’t care whether I won or lost, performed well or lackluster. It was time to quit.

Sports is a minor thing. When it comes to my faith and my relationship/walk with God that is a whole ‘nother ball game! (No pun intended). Unfortunately, I am guilty (as are many others…maybe all) of giving God second best. Instead of giving Him priority of my day I say, “Later.” Instead of putting Him first in my thoughts, He becomes an afterthought. Instead of giving Him the best part of me, I give Him the leftovers.

I was struck by this as I read Nehemiah 10:28-39 this morning. Among the rather tedious listing of names of men who were given specific duties, is this section where a commitment (covenant) was made to give God the firstfruits. The section is given the title “The Obligations of the Covenant” which has a negative connotation. But i was more intrigued by their commitment to give the first of everything. Not the second. Not the leftovers. Not the “let me do this first and whatever time, effort, money, and stamina is left I’ll give to you” type of thinking. No. It is “we bring the firstfruits.”

Taking it beyond tithing, do I give God the firstfruits? Do I make Him my first thought of the day? My first motivation for doing something? My first word? My first consideration? My first reason? Or do I relegate Him to second best?

“Father, those are not easy questions to answer. In fact, they are downright hard and convicting. Help me to make You my first thought of each day. My first motive and reason for doing something and not relegate You to second best or an afterthought.”


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. No, not easy questions to answer, Bill, but another great wake-up call as to Who should ever be first in our lives. We must place God above all else.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      There have been several wake up calls for me lately Martha. This devotion is just one in a list. Thanks for the comment.

  2. floyd says:

    Excellent questions. Hard ones… It’s so easy to give into the flesh and put it first, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

    Fascinating how we take the very life and breath that He provides and uses it to dishonor Him by not putting Him first…