Duane Boyett – Queen Creek Campus Pastor
Recently I was out on Lake Saguaro with two of my grandsons when I asked the oldest if he would like to catch a fish. Being 3 years old he of course said yes. I ran the boat up on a beach and we proceeded to wade in the water a bit to try and catch some fish. I baited the hook and helped him hold the pole as we dropped the tasty fish treat into the water. Within a few seconds Bluegill began to swim toward the bait and it wasn’t long before one of them tried to swim off with it. I told my grandson that he had a fish on the line and you could immediately see the excitement in his eyes, he was loving every second of his new first experience. We reeled in the line and then I helped him lift his prize out of the water. There it was his first fish, an amazing 4 inch whopper! His excited eyes soon began to show concern as the fish we just lifted out of the water began to swing toward him. When you are an adult, the fish will normally come toward you at about waist high. When you are only about three feet tall the fish comes right toward your face. Well as you may have guessed my grandson made literal eye contact with his new friend. He didn’t know what to do next so luckily for him his grandpa was able to get things under control before the fish could get in another shot. I grabbed the fish in my hand and held it down at his level so he could see it up close. It was amazing to watch his eyes light up again as he touched the fish and began to slide his finger down its side. It wasn’t long before we let that one get back in the water and began the process over again a few more times. (I even managed to keep any more fish from hitting him in the head). Eventually, like all little boys his eyes and attention were drawn to other important things like throwing rocks in the water. It was a great “first” experience to get to share with my grandson.
All of us experience a lot of firsts in our life. First day of school, first time driving a car, first kiss. We desire to be first in our class, first in line or in first place on a sports team. First can also be tied to obedience. Who doesn’t remember their parents saying; “you can go outside and play but first you need to clean your room.” Jesus laid out an interesting first for Peter in when he sends him fishing for tax money.
“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matthew 17:27
It’s interesting to me that Jesus really wasn’t sending Peter on a fishing trip but on an obedience trip. Jesus made it clear that the priority was on the first fish and not on any others that he may catch that day. My point in all of this is that first matters. Whether it’s an experience, a position, or a command of when to do something, first matters.
Every week on all of our campuses people experience their first impression of Central. For some it is their first experience with any church. What they see and what they feel matters more than we often realize. It’s been said that most people determine whether or not they will return to a church within the first few minutes of being on the property. My encouragement to all of us who call Central home is that when we come across these people, that we take the time to help them have the best first possible. I believe that when we take that step, we will go a long way to helping our guests take their next step.