“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
What came first the chicken or the egg? In God’s created order the chicken came first thus supplying the egg. Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, thus restoring God’s kingdom order. The entire redemptive story from Genesis to Revelation is that of God’s Kingdom purposes being lived out on the earth as it is in heaven. Is it any wonder that Jesus would teach his followers to make seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteous standard the highest priority in this life? It is the gospel that restores the proper order of things.
The word seek in verse 33 is a Greek word meaning “to look for” or “to seek.” It was used many times denoting the ongoing process of philosophical investigation. Jesus uses the word in the “Present Active” which means continual action. Jesus was encouraging a lifestyle of daily pursuing God’s Kingdom and His righteousness as the highest priority of life. God’s righteousness is the essence of the created order of the universe. While others were filled with anxieties worrying about how they were going to get enough food water and clothing, Jesus was teaching about the peace and contentment that comes from focusing on placing God first, thus having all the necessities of life supplied as well.
Avoiding a Preoccupation with Self
Jesus is certainly not opposed to material possessions, or the people’s desire to have nice things. He’s warning his followers of the dangers of making those things the object of their affections. People who get caught up with having to have what everyone else has, fall into a lifestyle of being preoccupied with themselves. Like the chicken and the egg, if you seek the chickens you’ll have the eggs. If you seek God first you’ll have your needs supplied.
Paul too warned about the self destructive power of placing material things first. He advises Timothy to teach the people about the Kingdom “Principle of Priorities;” “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:6-9).
Earlier in Matthew 5:6 Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” He continues throughout this sermon to illustrate this Kingdom “Principle of Priorities” that governs all sowing and reaping. He tells his followers not to get caught up with the anxieties and cares of everyday life like those who do not know God. They’re continually seeking the fulfillment of material needs, while those who are seeking God’s kingdom lifestyle first, have their material needs supplied anyway.
Don’t Worry Be Happy
Jesus does not want you to worry. The word literally means “to be anxious” or “be concerned about.” Jesus mentions the word six times in ten verses! He’s saying “don’t worry be happy,” seek God first and all your needs will be supplied.
This Kingdom Principle of Priorities will require you to live your life purposefully. Jesus is laying out a lifestyle of intentionally setting and keeping priorities in order. Ask yourself if all of your activities in life are feeding into your continual pursuit of God’s Kingdom Purpose. One way to find out is to ask yourself if your present personal priorities are adding to you the basic necessities of life without you having to ask for them all the time (Matthew 6:25-34).
Believe it or not much of the prayers that go unanswered and the provisions that seemingly arrive only occasionally, have more to do with incorrect priorities than with the actual act of praying. In other words the lack of Kingdom evidence in the lives of many believers has more to do with sowing and reaping than asking and receiving. Sowing into wrong priorities produces little or no return.
So examine yourself according to the Sermon on the Mount’s Kingdom “Principle of Priorities.” Ask yourself if you’re continually seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness by the way you are currently living. If you find that you’re not, then begin to change your life’s priorities so they line up with the instructions found in God’s Word.
You will find that having your priorities in order your life’s purpose will begin to become clearer to you. Many of God’s promised provisions will be added to you without you having to ask for them. You will be more productive, be more confident, and see more of God’s hand in you using your gifts to bless others, and you will certainly Be Encouraged!-JSP