Seek First the Kingdom of God
Matthew 6: 33
Introduction: What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you wake up in the morning? Are you thinking about your family, your job, your finances, your future?
I wonder how many people, including Christians, wake up each day worrying about life?
What things do people worry about?
Your favorite sports team(s)
The truth is worry can wreak havoc with our lives, if we let it. And yet, God has a cure for this emotion and it is found in Matthew 6:33-34…
Seek first the Kingdom of God…
What does this mean?
The verse’s meaning is as direct as it sounds.
We are to seek the things of God as a priority over the things of the world.
Primarily, it means we are to seek the salvation that is inherent in the kingdom of God because it is of greater value than all the world’s riches.
Does this mean that we should neglect the normal daily duties that help sustain our lives?
Certainly not. We need to show up for our jobs. Provide for our children. Be a good steward of those things that God has blessed us with such as a home and vehicle. But when we seek God’s kingdom first, we do all those things with a different perspective than that of the world.
If we are taking care of God’s business as a priority—seeking His salvation, living in obedience to Him, and sharing the good news of the kingdom with others—then He will take care of our business as He promised. Jesus is telling his followers that if we trust that arrangement, how does worrying fit into God’s plan for our lives?
Let’s go back to the beginning of this passage and see what leads up to verses 33-34 of Chapter 6.
Matthew 6: 25-34…
do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
3 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.
Five times in this passage Jesus speaks to not worrying. Because if we seek His kingdom first, He’s got everything covered. But…
How do we know if we’re truly seeking God’s kingdom first?
Start by asking yourself these Questions:
“Where do I primarily spend my energies?
Is all my time and money spent on goods and activities that will perish, or in the services of God—the results of which live on for eternity?”
Seeking God first is all about priorities.
What if we actually woke up each morning with the notion of seeking God first? What would that look like?
Think about it. If we actually began each day with God as our first thought how that would change 0ur perspective for each day. Instead of starting with worry, start with God instead.
Those who leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hand in everything.
According to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6…When we put God first, this is what we experience:
…and these things will be added to you.
God has promised to provide for His own, supplying every need (Philippians 4: 19)
But His idea of what we need is often different from ours, and His timing will only occasionally meet our expectations.
For example, we may see our need as more money, or in advancement in our job, or in prestige, but perhaps God knows that what we truly need is a time of poverty, loss or solitude.
Seriously, Pastor…and all these things added might mean less money, a trial or loneliness?
Yes, it might…for a time period. But remember this…
When this happens, we are in good company.
God loved both Job and Elijah, but He allowed Satan to absolutely pound Job (all under His watchful eye), and He let that evil woman, Jezebel, break the spirit of His own prophet Elijah (Job 1–2; 1 Kings 18–19).
In both cases, God followed these trials with restoration and sustenance.
Job 42: 12-17…
1 Kings 19…So Elijah had killed all the prophets of Baal according to chapter 18 of 1 Kings. Then we see this in chapter 19, verse 2:
So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
What did Elijah do? He stood up to her right? After all, he had just taken out more than 900 prophets of Baal.
No, that was not what happened. Verse 3…
Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
When he awoke, God had supplied provisions for him and he was able to escape to safety from Jezebel. And God even allowed Elijah to experience his presence on a mountaintop. Eventually, Elijah went to Damascus where God had prepared his predecessor…Elisha.
All these things added are not about wealth and riches, although some may certainly be blessed in this way.
Matthew 6: 33 is not a formula for gaining wealth.
It is a description of how God works when we seek him first. Jesus taught that our focus should be away from this world—including all the things that some time look good about it—and placed upon the things of God’s kingdom.
If God wants something for your life, there is nothing better than that.
If he adds to your life a trial so that you draw closer to him that is a good thing.
So are you seeking first the Kingdom of God?