May 11, 2016
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. When people speak of their idealized priorities they say something like, “God first. Family second. Church third.” Think that through a minute and the absurdity will begin to emerge. So if God is first, this necessarily means that he can’t be both second and third too. Hierarchical thinking just doesn’t work when it comes to setting big-picture priorities.
Note how Jesus doesn’t say, “Kingdom first, righteousness second, everything else third.” It’s interesting here that he gave a “first” but no second or third. In effect, he might as well have said, “Seek only the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Don’t worry about anything else. It will be taken care of.” Jesus says in his way of living you don’t have priorities. You have one priority, period.
Jesus gives us a centered approach. He is saying seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness in everything, in the deepest place within me, in my marriage, with my children, in my friendships, acquaintances, finances, networks, neighborhood, in my children’s schools, in my extended family, at work, on vacation, on the golf course, and onward to the very furthest reaches of my influence in the world.
And what is the Kingdom of God? Start with THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, and move outward from there. And what is “his righteousness?” I like Wesley’s take on it:
Righteousness is the fruit of God’s reigning in the heart. And what is righteousness, but love—the love of God and of all mankind, flowing from faith in Jesus Christ, and producing humbleness of mind, meekness, gentleness, longsuffering, patience, deadness to the world; and every right disposition of heart, toward God and toward man. And by these it produces all holy actions, whatsoever are lovely or of good report; whatsoever works of faith and labor of love are acceptable to God, and profitable to man. p.196
I’ll leave you with one bold more call to action from our tutor:
Let God have the sole dominion over you. Let him reign without a rival. Let him possess all your heart, and rule alone. Let him be your one desire, your joy, your love; so that all that is within you may continually cry out, “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
And don’t you love it? At the end of today’s text, in case we were not paying attention at all before, he reminds us again—THEREFORE DO NOT WORRY.
1. How do you relate to this idea of a centered priority in everything instead of a hierarchical ranking of priorities?
2. Jesus seems to say, “If you will make it your sole priority to seek my Kingdom and real righteousness everywhere and in everything, I will take care of everything else in your life.” Do you believe this?
3. How does our worry and anxiety keep us from seeking the Kingdom of God and his righteousness? What is your strategy for changing that?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.