First and Foremost



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Leviticus 2:1–3

“When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it and take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord.”


This is a new week and we are embracing the surrender of worry. If the reports from mental health experts are correct, this is desperately needed by a growing number of adults, especially our young adults. Worry seems to be an invisible burden many of us carry on a daily basis. Why do we worry? Do we not trust in God’s goodness or believe we deserve God’s provision? This week we will face some common worries like not having enough or not having anything, worries about not being enough, not knowing our future, and not being able to let go of all our worries. Whatever the root cause of this mental weight, God has invited us to surrender our worries in exchange for trust in His unfailing love.

In Leviticus, the second type of offering God directed His people to give was a grain offering, or the minchah. Interestingly, it is the only offering that did not involve an animal sacrifice though it often accompanied a burnt offering we studied last week. Why grain? As you read stories in the Old Testament, you will find that bread was a fundamental piece of their diet. Whether rich or poor, having flour and oil to make bread was essential to living and it was a common bond between all people. This offering also provided for the priests. While the burnt offering was wholly consumed, part of the grain offering was meant to support those who served God. There are two words that rise up (yes, baking humor) from today’s passage, anyone and finest.

One of my favorite parts of Communion liturgy in the Wesleyan expression occurs when the pastor provides the invitation, reminding those who have gathered that the altar is an open table and all are welcome to come and receive, you need only have a repentant heart. Both in this offering lesson and our Communion liturgy is the word anyone. Whether you are rich or poor, well-connected or lonely, of the highest heritage or lowest, you are invited to encounter God. We do not have to worry if we measure up or if the Lord will accept us. He desires all to come into His presence.

The second word is finest. Just as the burnt offering was to be of the highest value, the grain was expected to be the best or the finest. The grain offering is also known as a “firstfruits” offering. In Genesis 4 we can read the story of Cain and Abel bringing their offerings to God. Abel brought the firstfruits of his livestock, but Cain’s offering from his garden was not the finest. It caused God to be angry and resulted in a fatal conflict between the brothers. We do not have to hold back our best from God because He does not hold back from us. Instead, we can trust God to provide because the Lord is good and faithful. Are you carrying the invisible burden of worry today? We can trust who we are and what we have to the Lord who loves us and who promises to be our provider.


Lord, we want to give You our first and our finest. You are worthy of more than we can give, so we give You our best and pray that You will use it for Your kingdom. Amen.


Do you worry more about who you are or what you have? Why is that your worry? Where have you failed to give the firstfruits of your life and your resources?

For the Awakening,
Susan Kent 


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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. No, personally I am not burdened down with anxiety over the current chaos affecting our culture. Having been around for awhile, I’ve experienced bad times before, and also experienced God’s provision. I am concerned for my offspring, especially my grandkids. From my perspective, our culture been in a downward spiral most of my adult life, I’m 71 years old. I don’t know how bad things will deteriorate before Christ Jesus returns, but I do know how this story ends. That knowledge gives me the confidence to stand firm in my faith and fight the good fight until my race is won. In the meantime, I’ll serve my Lord in whatever capacity He calls me.

  2. What exactly is mental health? Aside from brain dysfunction and its cylinders misfiring, mental health is sinking thinking versus positive (faith) thinking.
    Is it that simple? Yes and no.
    Why do we revert to worry naturally while good thinking takes effort?
    One word-fear and sin.
    Ok, two words.
    Sin, because its wages is death.
    Fear because it’s the devil’s strongest advocate.

    2 Timothy 1:7
    For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power,[a] love, and sound judgment.

    Where did humanity get it if God didn’t give us the spirit of fear? (Yes, fear is spiritually enforced).
    Fear, anxiety, and worry are spiritual issues that affect our soul’s thinking, desires, and emotions.
    All spiritual issues are resolved IN Christ! Not in men or pills.
    When we abide in Christ, fear can’t reach us. If fear entered Christ, it could no longer kill, steal, and destroy; it would become Life.
    Life to the fullest!
    So the question is, where are we spiritually?
    In fear, or IN Christ.
    The evidence of both is apparent.
    Most of us flip-flop back and forth but if fear has a hold of us at times, it has a hold of us period. It’s simply in waiting.
    God can use all things for His purpose for those who love Him. The beauty of fear is that it tells us to get back IN Christ.
    Now, let’s choose to stay there.

    Stayin 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

  3. God “desires all to come into His presence,” but our self-focused choices pull us away from Him. I woke up this morning with this short essay developing in my mind and finished it before I saw today’s Wake-Up Call. It explains why God’s will needs to be “first and foremost” in all of our choices.

    The Choice of Choices

    People have the choice of choices. Throughout each day we can choose what we want, or we can choose what God wants for us. However, most of the time most of our choices are based on choosing what we want.

    Rather than choosing to be guided by the promptings of God’s Spirit within us (the leading of His still small voice in our conscience), we become dead to hearing from God. Instead of being led by His presence we choose to be led by our own desires, feelings, and opinions.

    As human beings we become captivated to choosing the cravings of our human nature. Rather than choosing to always align with the life of God at work within us, we attempt self-justify our self-focused choices by our analysis and rationalizations of the knowledge of good and evil.

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