Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Early in the mornings, I am greeted by a mass of furry white hair and sweet, sloppy dog kisses! I don’t mind this at all! In fact, I love that the first thing my dog thinks about when she wakes up is me!
This makes me wonder at how God must feel when our first thought upon waking up is Him. It must delight Him tremendously!
While Jesus was on earth, He loved to pray to His heavenly Father. In Mark 1, we see Him getting up to spend time with His Father in the wee hours of the morning, while the sky was still dark. He could have chosen to sleep an extra two hours since He was a very busy man ministering to people. But He didn’t. Not even the pressure of responsibilities or the crowds of people stopped Him from seeking God’s face first. God the Father was His first agenda of the day.
This makes we wonder: Is God our first agenda of the day?
Although God does not specifically demand dawn prayers from us, I believe that the very early hours of a day are something like a “firstfruit” of time which we can willingly give to Him. We often think of firstfruits in terms of wealth or the tithe we give to God. Rightly so! But did we ever stop to think that time, just like wealth, is also very important? So important that we’re told to “Redeem the time” (see Ephesians 5:16)– redeem being a word used for wealth?
Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase…” The word substance may be directly translated as “wealth” or “possessions,” but I believe “substance” also gives another layer of meaning. Every thing of substance to me is what makes me ME. That means my thoughts, my time, my emotions –everything that composes ME. These are wealth to me. Do I honor the Lord with “ME”?
The last thing we want to do is to turn time or other forms of wealth into a lawful “You must do this!” or “You must do that!” Just as I don’t want to force my dog to greet me every morning because I want her to CHOOSE to kiss me or to show her love to me, so does our Father give us the freedom to choose to gift Him with the firstfruit of time and our substance.
This is certainly something to think about. The first few hours of the day are opportunities for gazing at the face of God. We have a Father who loves to speak to us and to listen to us.
Let’s choose to gift God with our substance and the firstfruit of time, shall we? It might mean setting the alarm clock earlier than usual, but it can be our loving response to make the Heavenly Father our first agenda every day.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.