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  • Matters of Faith

First Class

Updated: Jun 10

Matters of Faith
By Bascom Ratliff
Pastor, Parker, Beagle, Fontana United Methodist Churches

The inspiration for today’s message is from: 

Isiah 43: 4 “Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.” 

Several years ago I was invited to do a presentation at a local church about the importance of family and worshiping God. Before the presentation, the pastor gave me a tour of the church. In one large fellowship room, I noticed a number of posters with the caption, “I am third."

When I asked the pastor about this, he told me that it was in reference to God being number one, others being number two, and our being number three. He told me that he and the church felt it was important to practice humility and encourage members to always consider the wishes of God and the needs of others before thinking of ourselves.

This is usually a wonderful sentiment. However, I could not find any Bible passages that spoke to our being third in the hierarchy of God and the church. What I did find were a number of passages that talk about our being precious in God’s sight and God loving us so much that he sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

I believe that humility, caring for others, and worshiping God as our Lord and Master, are important. I also believe that commitment to the well-being of our church and fellow members is important. And I believe that our role in worship and service are consistent with requirements for following Jesus and pursuing a Christian life.

My problem with being third is simply that I desperately want to be first. Rarely do people remember or celebrate those who finished third in a race or a game. No, the celebrations are typically reserved for those who finished first. Because of my feelings and attitudes, I desperately want to be first in the eyes of God. I want to be special. I want to be loved, honored, and cherished by God. And, truth be told, I want to be loved, honored, and special in the eyes of my family and friends. It’s important to me that I am recognized as a unique, cherished individual.

It is also important to me that God gives me a heart of service and love of others. If I feel anchored in my relationships, especially with God, I believe that I am better able to serve others. I am better able to love and care for others. And when I think about being filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I am further empowered to serve a living Christ by using all of my gifts to serve others. I serve because I am gifted with God spirit, not because I feel I am a third-rate citizen whose real value comes from putting myself last.

Our challenge is simply this: Asking ourselves how we can fully celebrate our relationship with Christ and being a member of God’s family while simultaneously celebrating our worth and value in God’s eyes. I would like to think that if I fully love and care for God, I will have more energy and enthusiasm for sharing the good news of the gospel. We all have great value in the eyes of God. All of us are first-class members of God’s family. And all of us have great cause for celebrating a living and loving Christ. 

Read. Pray. Do. Repeat.


If you want to hear about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and fellowship, please come and worship with us.

We will worship at the Beagle United Methodist Church during May 2024.

We will worship at the Fontana UMC during June 2024.

We will worship at the Parker UMC during July 2024.

All Sunday services are at 10 a.m.

We serve communion on the first Sunday of the month. 

All are welcome to worship in God’s House.  

Dr. Bascom Ratliff  (913-710-5748)

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana 

United Methodist Churches

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