Matt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." ESV
This verse may be one of the most often quoted verses in the Bible. Much has already been written on the subject and much has been said. One of the problems of a verse being so familiar is that it often gets quoted out of context and we don’t take time to reflect on what is really being taught.
The verse begs a couple of questions. The question that is usually asked first is what things will be added? That is almost ironic because it reveals the attitude of the heart that Jesus is speaking about throughout the entire passage. He starts in verse 19 with this statement, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ESV
He follows that one with a declaration that is vital to our understanding of the context. Matt 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ESV One reason Jesus taught on this issue is because the Jewish leaders were so focused on wealth. They taught that if you were not financially well off, that it was because of sin in your life. They were leading the sheep astray with their theology. Jesus was correcting that concept of God.
He is laying the groundwork for teaching us why our first question should not be what things are added to us, but instead, “what does it mean to seek His kingdom?” In verses 25 -32 He outlines why we need not worry about the material things of life and He explains a concept that we all need to understand. That is, that God loves all His creation and provides for it all, but that He loves mankind most of all. Jesus says that God the Father will take care of our needs because we are of more value to Him than all else in creation. What a spectacular statement!
Do you believe that? It seems that many people have a hard time truly believing that God will take care of their needs, so they spend the majority of their time worrying and focused on how to meet them. Jesus says that we are not to worry about and not to set our hearts on material things. Rather, we are to focus on seeking His kingdom and He will provide for our needs. He says that if we do that, we can trust Him to add what we need to our lives.
That brings us to the question we should have asked first, “What does it means to seek His kingdom first?” Let me tell you, what it does not mean. It does not mean that we don’t have to work! Some people like to use this verse to justify laziness. After all why stress out about working if God is going to take care of us anyway? News flash! Read 2 Thess 3:10. “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (NKJV) There are many proverbs, which teach us the value of hard work and saving, so obviously this is not what Jesus meant. Working is an important tool that that God uses in providing for us. So, if that is the case, what does it mean?
The entire Sermon on the Mount, which is the context of these verses, is meant to show us that what God wants from us is our hearts. He wants our relationship with Him to be more important than anything else in our lives. He wants us to put Him first and foremost in our thoughts and actions. He needs to be more important to us than family, friends, food and feelings. He wants every thought and action to be filtered by what value it has in furthering His kingdom. The promise is that if we do that first, we don’t have to worry about the rest!
What a wonderful promise we have. I pray that you would take hold of that promise. I pray that you would give up your worrying and fretting. I pray that if your life has centered on the desire to be wealthy, that you would realize that desire will keep you from serving God. I pray that you would seek first His kingdom and let Him add to you that which you need. He will provide and you will lay up for yourself treasures of eternal value in heaven!
God bless you,