The last words of a person are often immortalized. Their final words, especially if they know they are dying, are significant.
But the first recorded words can be just as important. First words give us insight into what a person thinks most important, what that person is becoming.
Scripture gives us several examples of each, but let me focus, for these thoughts, on just 4.
Samuel, "Speak Lord, your servant is listening."
Early in 1 Samuel the young prophet is awakened from sleep by God. God has a word for this young man, but he's never heard from God before and doesn't know his voice. When he finally knows it's God these are his words to God when he comes to the young man. Open ears and an available life are key to this response and from these first words we watch the life of this young man morph into one of the most important prophets in Israel's history.
Jesus, "Why are you looking for me, didn't you know I would be in my Father's house?"
At the age of 12 these are the first recorded words of Jesus. What a fascinating place for us to start in his life. Already he knew who his Father was. Already, he had an intimacy with God that few of his Jewish brothers understood or dared emulate.
Mary (Jesus' mother), "Do whatever he tells you."
These are Mary's final words recorded in scripture. What a great closing message for us as Christ followers. What a simple description of what it means to be a Christian. I can't imagine a better last word from the mother of Jesus than this.
Jesus, "It is finished."
These are, I'm sure, the most famous last words ever recorded. They speak volumes and in fact volumes have been written about them. I will simply let Jesus' last words stand without further comment. They brilliantly tell us about the completion of everything he can to say, be and do....and now, in his final words, he tells us he did it, he accomplished all the Father sent him to do.
These are just a few brief thoughts from first and last words. Both tell us something about the life of those who spoke them. Both reveal a vision, a passion, a heart.
If today recorded your last words what would you want them to be? What words would you want others to remember from your lips?