Who is Really First?

“Two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, ‘Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone..; only we two were in the house. And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.’ But the other woman said, ‘No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours…’

“Then the king said, ‘The one says, “This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead”; and the other says, “No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.” Bring me a sword… Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.’ Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, ‘Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.’ Then the king said, ‘Give the living child to the first woman..; she is his mother.’” 1 Kings 3:16-23,25-27

The young king presented a startling visual aid to his God-given wisdom that established him as the Lord’s anointed. In what is a most disturbing occasion, he gives an edict that cuts to the core of motive, revealing the ugliest selfishness and malice against the loveliest unselfishness and love. While we might chafe at the very proposition, exposure to our King and His word does the same for us, ‘piercing to the division of soul and of spirit,.. discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart… [laying us] naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.’ (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Every season, every day, begins with decisions about how we will spend ourselves- time, gifts, resources. While some necessities are imposed on us, and interruptions may jar our plans, we still determine how we order our hours and respond to external forces. In doing so, we reveal whom we live for: our Lord (and others), or ourselves. We can’t serve both as king. (Matthew 6:24)

What do my daily choices reveal about who is first in my heart? Do my actions give evidence that I sincerely love and honor God first, and put others before myself, preferring them and their welfare to my own? Do I give sacrificially, or only my leftovers after taking care of self? Whose comfort and joy is primary, and whose secondary? (Matthew 22:36-39; Mark 12:42-44; Romans 12:9-11; Revelation 2:4-5)

Lord Jesus, You gave Your all for me. From the depths of my heart, may I live wholly for You, loving You first and best, then others for Your sake. Purify my deepest motives to be ever only all for Thee. (John 15:13)

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