25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. — Matthew 6:25-34
Seeking The Kingdom First
by Brandon Owen
Harpeth Heights Campus
(Quotations from chapter 9 in Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline.)
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, in reflecting on this passage from Matthew 6, encouraged believers to “do nothing” and “become nothing” before God. Sound strange? I admit that it did the first time I read this. But I have come to believe that busy-ness can very easily become an enemy of spiritual health. We can even become too busy in our work for the Lord.
Essentially, if our effort to do any work skips Jesus’ call in verse 33 to “seek first” the Kingdom, then our effort is going to be in vain. So today, spend some time considering what it means to seek first the Kingdom. Kierkegaard has some thoughts for us…
Should a person get a suitable job in order to exert a virtuous influence? Should we give away all our money to feed the poor? The answer is no, we must first seek God’s kingdom. Should we go out and preach this truth to the world: that people are to seek first God’s kingdom? The answer again is no, we must first seek God’s Kingdom.
Kierkegaard concludes, Then in a certain sense it is nothing I shall do. Yes, certainly, in a certain sense it is nothing: become nothing before God, learn to keep silent. In this silence is the beginning, which is first to seek God’s kingdom.
The Kingdom is where things are as the King would have them to be. So the key for us to seeking the Kingdom first is to be about the things that King Jesus is about. And we don’t do that first by our effort. It is only by the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us that we do what Jesus would have us do.
Our spiritual soul care must begin with three crucial elements in which we must consistently live: fellowship with other believers, prayer and study of God’s Word. Through these fundamental practices, we can be ushered into a lifestyle that rejects busy-ness in favor of abiding in Jesus. Through these means we can hear Jesus’ call away from anxiety to living in peace. After all, we are loved, and there is work for us to do for the Kingdom! Jesus says, “All of these things will be provided for you.” My prayer is that the work before us would provide abundant joy as we seek the Kingdom—first.
- What causes you to worry today?
- What would it look like for you to trust God with these particular worries?
- What are some practical ways you can remember to seek first God’s Kingdom?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.