Today’s verse is one of the most well known in the bible. It can be found on inspirational posters and bumper stickers and probably coffee mugs. It is a great verse which rolls off the tongue, but what does it really mean? It is not always quoted in the context of worry, it is often just quoted as a nice thought, but if you have been following these blogs for the past few weeks, you will know that Jesus has been explaining why we don’t need to worry and this verse is a sort of summing up of what He has just been saying. Let’s break it down and look at it carefully.
Seek– To seek for something denotes action, it is not passive, not hoping that something will just turn up. It’s going ‘all out’ to get something. Jesus summed it up well in Luke 15 when He told parables about the lost sheep and lost coin. The searcher was single minded in their seeking, which is the sort of seeking Jesus is referring to here. It’s not a ‘one off’ seeking either, it’s a daily choice!
First– This is the thing we should be doing above all other things. Making it a top priority, not settling for a lesser target or compromising. We are talking about ‘the pearl of great price’ which takes precedence over all other things.
Kingdom of God– For many years I didn’t really understand what this phrase meant, but Jesus used the term a lot. In fact it was the central theme of His ministry. He would often say “The kingdom of God is at hand” or even “The kingdom of God is within you”. Many people have differed on the precise meaning of this term, but I think it is clear from the context of what Jesus was saying and doing. A Kingdom denotes a ruling and a reigning of a King. When Jesus demonstrated the nearness of His kingdom He would generally be; healing people, delivering them from demonic activity, working miracles or preaching the good news. You could liken it to heaven touching earth. There is no sickness in heaven and so when Jesus healed somebody he brought heaven’s kingdom down to earth. There is no lack in heaven and so when Jesus fed the five thousand he brought the provision of heaven down to earth and so on. He demonstrated love, joy and peace, all attributes of His heavenly kingdom.
When we seek God’s Kingdom first we are looking to act like Jesus in our everyday lives. It could be by; blessing people, providing for them, loving them, feeding the poor, helping the helpless, being kind, being generous and hundreds of other things that happen because we love Jesus and we want people to know and love Him too. It doesn’t have to be big things either. Just the mundane, every day, Christ-like attitude we demonstrate on a daily basis. It all shows a seeking first of Christ’s kingdom. It’s in every decision we make to do the ‘right’ thing. That leads me on to the last bit;
Righteousness– God’s righteousness is what we are given as a free gift when we are saved. It is nothing we have earned or could possibly attain for ourselves. One of my favourite verses in the whole bible is:
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Let that sink in; you have become the righteousness of God. God looks at you and sees the perfection of Jesus. But it is still something we need to take on, it’s a daily choice. We can choose to seek first and pursue God’s righteousness or we can just do what we want to do. Jesus is encouraging us today to seek first the better thing, to go after God and all He has for us with all of our might, to make it our top priority.
Jesus says when we put Him first, all the other stuff will be added anyway. We pursue the kingdom and we won’t be lacking in food, clothes or provisions. He takes care of all of that.
Next week, I’m going to attempt to sum up all we have been looking at over the last few weeks and again see why it is pretty pointless worrying about things. Until then..