When you think of those words it's usually in a bad connotation, right? Whether it's your own kids fighting over opening presents on Christmas morning, tee-ballers fighting over batting order, or adults fighting over stimulus checks. The phrase "Me first" puts our teeth on edge.
How about for this morning we look at this phrase in a different light? What if I were to tell you that in God's mind "Me first" isn't always a bad thing? In fact, at times it is the best thing.
Think of Joshua leading the Israelites. They were going to need to be brave to go into the promised land and follow God in their conquest of the land. But Joshua had to be told to be strong and courageous first. Moses and God told him, "Be strong and courageous...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua had to be strong and courageous FIRST, then the people would follow.
Think of David facing down Goliath. When David came to the camp of the Israelites he found them cowering in fear from the giant Philistine. When David was taken before Saul he said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from this Philistine." David learned to trust God FIRST in the fields, and then he was ready to trust him against this giant.
An finally think of Gideon. When Gideon was approached by the angel of the Lord about delivering the Israelites from the Midianites and their gods, the angel says, "The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor." Gideon is not this man in his own eyes. Gideon is a fearful farmer, and Gideon has problems with idols in his own household. Gideon's first task given to him by the Lord is to tear down his father's idols and use the materials to build an altar to the Lord and burn a sacrifice on it. This was Gideon demonstrating his faith in God as he was turning against his father and his hometown, but Gideon had to get rid of these idols and show his faith in God FIRST before he could lead his countrymen to do the same.
There are other examples, but the same truth is found in each, God wants us to FIRST learn to find our strength and courage in Him, to trust in His power to conquer, and to clean up our lives. Then, we will be ready to serve Him and lead others to do the same.
So today let our prayers be "Me first, God." As Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:21,
"Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work."
Let us do that today. Cleanse ourselves so we are useful to the master and ready for every good work.