Seek Ye First. We continue our Words of Christ series of devotional from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 and Luke 12. We have it all backward, do we not? That is exactly the point that Jesus was making to His disciples.
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:31-34, NKJV
The King James Version of the Bible translates Matthew 6:33 in this way:
33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
We have it all backward, do we not? That is exactly the point that Jesus was making to His disciples. We worry about tomorrow--what we shall eat, what we shall drink, and what we shall wear. Yet, the one thing we should be concerned about is our relationship to Christ. Are we part of His kingdom? Have we obtained His righteousness?
In the end, these are the only things that matter in this life. It really does not matter what we wear, what we drink, or what we eat. Everything in this life is only temporal, yet Satan has done a masterful job of creating a diversion--a lifelong diversion, that consumes our hearts, our lives, and our very beings!
When we get up in the morning, what is the first thing we think about--especially on a normal work day? Most of us literally hit the ground running and that running does not usually stop until the end of our work week, and sometimes, not even then! Our lives are consumed with getting more and more. There is always just one more thing we must have! But, when we get that one thing, what happens? Soon another "necessity" pops up on the horizon of life.
Jesus looked tenderly at His disciples, and He looks tenderly at us and says, "Stop! Stop the rat race!" He calls us to take a step back, close ourselves in a quiet place, and think on Him. What does it really matter in this life? How many have expended their lives to consume more and more? How many of the rich and famous are now passed on? What has happened to their riches? What are they saying now?
We have a unique glimpse into just such a conversation between Abraham and a rich man who died and went to hell. His story is told to us in Luke 16. What was the agonizing plea of the rich man? First he pleaded with Abraham that he would send the poor beggar, Lazarus, who died and was in heaven with Abraham, to dip his finger in cool water and cross the great gulf that existed between them, so that he might cool the rich man's tongue, for he was tormented in the flames of hell. Second, he had an even more agonizing plea:
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him [Lazarus] to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Luke 16:27-28, KJV
First, the rich man was concerned about his own torment, and second he pleaded that those whom he had loved on earth would be warned so they would not join him in hell.
It is a chilling story. What good did all of his earthly riches do for him? Yet, here was a poor blind beggar named Lazarus, who knew nothing but misery in this life. Not so in heaven! In heaven he rejoiced with Abraham with eyes that could see. He was alive and rich in the things of Christ, and will remain so for all of eternity.
May the words of Christ permeate our hearts and lives. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
What an amazing God we serve!