Be First

Dan DeGraff

READ : James 1:1-18

That we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (v. 18)

“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” That was the line that movie-goers took away from the 2006 film Talladega Nights. The film, which starred Will Ferrell as the fictional NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, parodies the importance of being number one both on and off the track. For Ricky Bobby, worth is wrapped up in fame, accomplishments, and his trophy wife. While most audiences laughed at the ridiculous antics of the film, sadly this is the way that many people see their self-worth. James, however, offers us an alternative in today’s reading.

We often get stuck in what the world proclaims as meaningful rather than what the Word of God teaches. God has created us to be first for him: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (v. 18). God is the one who has created us to be born and live and enjoy his good gifts. He makes a way by which our lives can be a firstfruit. We don’t need to live up to others’ expectations of wealth, success, house size, number of cars, or trendiness, because that’s not what God intended.

God has placed us here so that we would testify to his truth. In humility, let us claim our place at the top and take hold of our calling, so beautifully expressed in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”


Father of lights, help me to claim the worth you have given me today.