“These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:32-33
In the average, so-called, disciple of Jesus, matters of the Kingdom of God are rarely in his/her top ten priorities. By the time work, sleep, eating, family, friends, education, hobbies and play, home — rent or ownership, transportation, and television/media are satisfied, there is precious little time left for God. Much less even thinking about God.
Yet Jesus said that the Kingdom should occupy the first place in a disciple’s priority list. That seems like a daunting task, given that creditors don’t quit demanding their monthly payments and families need a safe and protective place to sleep and live. Life goes on. Employers require eight hours of work for eight hours of pay. And children’s teachers ask parents to volunteer at school, bake cupcakes, and attend PTO meetings.
Where does God fit into that?
Most people involved in the fullness of life will not be able or inclined to drop everything and move to Africa. Not everyone can be like Damien De Veuster who moved to a leper colony in Hawaii to serve the lepers. But that’s not what Jesus was talking about in this long passage about wealth.
He was, first of all, talking to the crowds about orientation. Suppose you think about what God is doing in your life and the life of the world. That thought begins to serve like true north on the compass. That awareness begins to govern how you think about work, money, and affections in life. A little thought of God here, a little thought of God there eventually infiltrates every aspect of one’s life and the decisions made.
How different this incremental thinking is from believing that you must make some 180-degree change in the daily details of your life. It begins with carving out some time or some place in one’s life that is devoted solely to serving God. It is a gesture to Jesus that the Kingdom is about to become a regular, protected part of your life. Only your life will teach you how that can grow.
If you have a sick parent for whom to care, that will become part of your service. If you coach your child’s little league team, do so for God. The more you entrust your life to God, the more that will govern how you see what you do. That is putting the Kingdom first.
Wealth, then, is not the object of your life.
Prayer: God our King, your kingdom’s reach is everywhere around us. In helping someone who needs us, in finding your footprints in the sacrificial lives of others, and in the unfolding of the future you have promised for us. May we not allow the distractions of the world to take over our lives. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth, just like in heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.