As you remember, recently I’ve written about the Beatitudes, which are at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). This sermon is, in many ways, the official kickoff of Jesus’ public ministry, and it’s full of deep truths. Today I’d like to focus on a section from chapter 6, where Jesus addressed the human tendency to be anxious about our basic needs.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Matthew 6:25 ESV
Every time I read this I think, “How is this possible?” In verses 26 through 32, Jesus described His plan to take care of us just like He takes care of the birds and the flowers. I wonder what my part is in this plan. In verse 33, I find the answer…
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV
Does “all these things” include everything we might possibly ever want? Is it a promise of a full refrigerator, pantry, and a loaded closet? No, as in the case of the birds and flowers, it refers to how God cares for our basic needs…something to eat, something to drink, something to wear.
What does it mean to “seek first the kingdom of God…”? Many people think this is a description of our individual journey with God. If that’s true…if we constantly strive to be spiritually disciplined, God will always meet all of our basic needs. It sounds good, but it doesn’t work. I can prove it, because there are many who loved Jesus, who followed Him closely all their lives, but still struggled and died in poverty, lacking basic needs.
So what does “His righteousness” mean? This phrase is unique to Matthew’s Gospel. He used it to define God’s Kingdom. “Righteousness” is one of the most important characteristics of God’s Kingdom. In Matthew 25, Jesus described “righteousness” by explaining what will happen at the final judgment. On that day, He will make it clear that the difference between those who will be saved and those who will be cast out is whether or not they gave food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked…who cared for strangers and visited the sick and imprisoned. Jesus denied “righteous” as those who radically seek to provide for others who are struggling to survive.
What does all this mean? It means we are to be seeking first a Kingdom that is defined by God’s righteousness, as we become His hands and feet to provide for what people around us need. This wasn’t a new idea to many who heard Jesus. The problem is that many people listening to Jesus missed it. Let’s not miss it.
God’s people have always been God’s plan to deliver God’s resources to people in need.
We still have wrist bracelets available for everyone to serve as a reminder to seek God’s Kingdom first in our lives. Using Matthew 6:33 as our primary verse, we are asking everyone to set an alarm at either 6:33 AM or 6:33 PM (or both) to pray… Pray that you will seek first the Kingdom of God. Ask Him to reveal how He is working in you and around you. Ask Him how you can join Him in this work.
We have partnered with the Gresham Chamber of Commerce to “adopt a cop” for the month of January. This opportunity is a natural fit for us, because we have a few active officers who are a part of the Mountainview family. This is what we’re asking of you. First, if you see officer Doug or officer Alan around the church, be sure to tell them “Thank You!” Second, say thank you to them by writing them a note or card, or buying them coffee (gift card). We will have a table set up for the next few Sundays in the foyer as a reminder.