A few years ago, a friend and I happened to be on vacation in Colorado at the same time. Since we were both traveling alone, we agreed to meet up and do some things together out there to make it more fun. While we were there, he encouraged me to make a list of things that I was doing for the first time. That sounded like fun, so I did.
We met up in Denver and quickly made our first stop together at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, CO. There we encountered hundreds of beautiful free flying butterflies, which gave us ample opportunities for taking some great photos. I had not been in a place like this before, so this was a first for me, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
After that, we drove up to Estes Park, where I had never been before that trip. We got up before dawn and went down to the lake to photograph the sun coming up over the mountains. I’m NOT a morning person, and I’m pretty sure that my no-makeup, I-haven’t-had-any-caffeine-yet appearance scared him to death when I answered his knock on my door. Needless to say, I had never gotten up before dawn just to go take photos! We were well rewarded for the sacrifice of sleep, however, and I was glad that we had done it.
Later, we went for a hike. I believe our altitude was around 8,500 feet if memory serves me correctly. I’d never been hiking at that altitude before, so we took the appropriate precautions against altitude sickness. We enjoyed the hiking, but we also enjoyed stopping along the trail for photo ops (we’re both shutterbugs) and admiring the beautiful scenery. However, that afternoon, a thunderstorm developed. Let me tell you, a thunderstorm at that altitude is quite fearsome! We got pretty good and wet in spite of our gear, but I didn’t mind too much. I was having too much fun with all of these first time experiences.
Our trip into Rocky Mountain National Park let me experience more firsts: My first time seeing wild elk, my first time into that beautiful park, my first time making a snow angel in July, my first time experiencing true tundra, and my first time at an altitude of over 12,000 feet. Now I know what people are talking about when they talk about “thin air”!
I experienced many other “firsts” while we were there, and it was fun to celebrate them all, whether they were big or small. But do you know where else “firsts” are celebrated? In the Bible. Here are some examples:
- The firstfruits of someone’s labor were offered to the Lord as a sacrifice. (Nehemiah 10:35, 37)
- The first born was celebrated and given to the Lord as an offering. (Nehemiah 10:36)
- God is to be our first love. (Revelation 2:4)
There are also people who went first in some way:
- Adam was the first man. (Genesis 2:7)
- Eve was the first woman. (Genesis 2:22)
- Andrew was one of the first two disciples to follow Jesus. (John 1:36-40)
- The Samaritan woman at the well was the first in her town of Sychar to put her trust in Jesus. Her faith caused many others in her village to put their faith in Him as well. (John 4:7-30)
- Peter gives the first sermon after Jesus’s ascension and 3,000 people came to Christ. (Acts 2:38-41)
- Stephen becomes the first martyr for Christ who is recorded by name in the Bible. (Acts 7:54-60)
- Lydia was the first woman named to put her faith in Jesus because of Paul’s preaching. (Acts 16:14) She became a supporter of his ministry.
These are just a few examples, but you can see from them the significance of “firsts”. I think the most important first of all, however, is this one:
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Without His great love for us, we would not have the capacity to love Him or each other. Isn’t that amazing? We don’t have to fear that He will reject us because He already expressed His love for us on the cross; Jesus went first. All we have to do is accept His gift, and our natural response will be to love Him and to love those around us. Won’t you accept His love today? If you already have taken that step, why not ask Him to show you how you can experience His love in a new way today? He would love to create a new list of “firsts” with you.