Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seek First

Some thoughts on money and needs from Matthew 5-7:

1) Make sure your focus is on Heavenly things
  • Store up treasures in Heaven (6:19-21)
  • Serve God, not money (6:21)
  • Seek His Kingdom, His righteousness (6:33)
2) Ask God to provide for your needs
  • Ask, seek, knock (7:7-11)

Matthew 6:33

Jesus tells us that we aren't to be anxious about anything in this life, but certainly not when it comes to meeting our financial needs. Not only does worrying not add an hour to our life (6:27), but it also displays a lack of trust in the One who feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass of the fields. Thus, Jesus ends his mini-sermon on being anxious with the command to "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." (6:33)

When I was younger, I remember taking this verse to mean "Seek God," and in some ways, that's pretty close. But having really focused on kingdom principles lately in studying the gospels, Jesus is actually giving two commands:

1) Seek the Kingdom of God

2) Seek His righteousness

The first, I believe, is related not just to seeking "God in Heaven." The Kingdom is now; the Kingdom is here. We are in His Kingdom, with a purpose. I believe that is part one of what we seek--our calling, our place in His Kingdom. How can I serve? How I can I be a witness to those outside the Kingdom? Or, to use the word Jesus had just spoken, seeking the Kingdom of God is simply stating, "Your Kingdom come [here, in this place you've given me to rule], your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" (6:10). It means not focusing on your problem at all, but focusing on eternal things, focusing on how you can be used, and focusing on how you can be selfless and loving toward others.

The second part, then, goes all the way back to chapter five--righteous living: His righteousness. Jesus gives a new law in these three chapters that steps up the standard. If it seems hopeless and discouraging that we could be righteous, it's not. It may seem impossible, from our limited view, to think that we can be useful in His Kingdom or that we can be selfless and loving toward others--as He has commanded us--but we can. That's another blessing, another gracious act, that Jesus delivered on the cross: "For our sake, He made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (1 Cor 5:21).

In seeking the Kingdom of God and in pursuing His righteousness, Jesus promises our needs will be met. But, as we saw from psalm 62, the trust and hope that we must place in Him as our source of security is absolutely necessary.

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