Place God first.
A phrase heard over and over.
Place God first.
Yet, is there a time God desires to be second? Maybe even third?
God desires greatly his people be at peace with one another. So great, He desires to be second or third. To God, forgiveness, reconciliation, peace is greater than worship.
The altar, in the Old Testament, is where man met God. It was only located in Jerusalem. The Jews would travel days to get to the altar to worship God on special holidays. Jesus said:
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:25
Jesus was basically saying in current day vernacular, “We are cool. We are straight. Stop what you are doing right now. Go do what you have got to do, no matter how far, to make it right with the one person you need to be reconciled. Forgive them. Make peace. Go as far as you have to go. Don’t sleep. Do it quickly. Then, come back to me and we will carry on. Reconciliation is more important than your worship.”
My family and I love to travel. This past summer in our RV, I drove over 30 hours to get to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and spend a week in the Black Hills. What Jesus was asking was equivalent to driving my family from Atlanta to South Dakota, turn to them as we arrive at the base of Mount Rushmore, and say, “Sorry guys but I need to return now to Atlanta. I have to make it right with someone now.” Then, we turn our RV immediately around and drive 30 plus hour back. Those listening to Jesus understood this teaching, Annually, many spent 30 plus hours traveling to Jerusalem to worship at the altar.
God desires for us all – His children – to treat each other with love and respect. Like us earthly fathers, He hurts when one of his kids hurt. He doesn’t like His kids to fight, bicker, hold grudges, harbor strife, or be deplete of forgiveness. He wants his kids – all of his kids-to get along. Be at peace. Love one another.
Being second or third? God doesn’t mind. Whatever it takes for His kids to get along.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
We are all one – or at least we should be – and it is our job, our duty, and our great challenge to fight the voices of division and seek the salve of reconciliation. Roy Barnes