We have all heard the phrase “the early bird gets the worm”.  It was probably said to you as your mother tried to pry you from your bed to get you to school.  While getting up early does have its advantages, this adage has more application than getting up before the sun.
      John 20 tells the story of Mary of Magdalene, whom Jesus had cast 7 demons out of, going to the tomb of Jesus.  The Bible specifically states, “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the  sepulchre  and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre” (John 20:1).  Mary got up before the sun was up to go and tend to the body of Jesus.  But much to her surprise, upon arriving there she found the tomb empty.  Immediately she ran and told Peter that the body had been moved as she did not understand what had truly happened.  After alerting Peter of the situation Mary returned to the tomb and wept.
      As she stood there weeping she knelt to see in the tomb and she saw two angels sitting in the place where the head and foot of Jesus would have rested.  The angels asked her why she was crying and she told them.  Then she turned and standing before her was Jesus.  We know from Mark 16 that this was the first appearance of Jesus after his resurrection.
      Imagine that, the first person Jesus showed himself to was Mary.  Not Peter the “rock” or John the “beloved”  but Mary.  Mary, the woman who had been possessed by demons.  Mary who loved Jesus enough to rise before the sun came up to care after his lifeless body.
      How many times have we missed out on an encounter with Jesus because we simply waited to long?  How many times have we missed being the first one to experience God in a new way simply because we did not feel like getting up?  Let me rephrase those in a more applicable wording.  How many altar calls have  passed  us by and we  sat  in our pews and waited for someone to come to us?  How many times have we  sat  through worship service waiting for Jesus to touch us? 
      Mary rose early.  She was the first to get to the tomb and she was the first to see God in a whole new way.  Stop waiting for others.  Stop making excuses.  Stop putting qualifiers on your actions.  Start getting up early.  Be the first to worship.  Be the first to the altar.  And be the first to see a resurrected Jesus.