But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33–34
This call of Jesus to His followers to “seek first the kingdom of God” is in contrast to those who are filled with anxiety over provision for daily life, and therefore, focused on material, temporal things to the neglect of spiritual, eternal things.
The early Christians lived in societies that were considerably less security oriented than what those of us living in the West have been used to. They didn’t have health care, homeowners insurance, social security, retirement funds, life insurance, etc. Of course, there are many people in the world today whose experience is similar to that of the early Christians, more so than us living in the comfort and security of twenty-first century America. But whatever kind of environment we find ourselves in—stable or unstable, secure or insecure—the Word of Jesus is the same. We, His people, are to have the spiritual and the eternal as our primary focus.
Seek First God’s Kingdom
What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God? It means putting Christ and the things of the Spirit first in our lives. Every day, we are faced with choices and opportunities to put our time and energy into temporal things that have no lasting spiritual value or to invest in things that are related to the kingdom of Christ. There are only so many hours in a day. How many of those hours do we spend focusing on spiritual activities like meditating on God’s Word, prayer, worship, etc.? And how much energy do we expend in some way or another advancing the cause of Christ in the lives of others and in the world?
Now obviously, we have responsibilities regarding family, work, perhaps school, and other obligations and activities to tend to, and those can all be included in “seeking first the kingdom of God.” What we have to watch out for is allowing those things to cause us to neglect the things of the Spirit. If I find that I’m too busy trying to make money or gain position, get ahead, or just check out and do nothing rather than being consistently in God’s Word, prayer, fellowship, and service to Jesus, then I’m not seeking first the kingdom. Don’t be that person.
What Matters Most
Let’s be honest, too many Christians are putting way too much of their time and energy toward the things that, in the end, won’t matter in the least.
A few years ago, a friend of mine passed away. During his battle with brain cancer, the Lord made it clear to him that he would die. That knowledge completely changed his attitude toward everything. He had been a fairly successful businessman and had accumulated a lot of nice things. A few months before he went home to heaven, he said to me: “I feel like I’ve wasted so much of my life. None of those things mean a single thing to me right now. The only thing that matters to me is the Lord.” By his own admission, he had spent much of his life focusing on money, possessions, and position and not that much time focusing on the things of God’s kingdom. You don’t want that to be your story. And that won’t be your story if you take to heart the words of Jesus.