Seeking God’s Kingdom
“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. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25
I just returned from an eye-opening weekend retreat on which the focus was seeking the Kingdom of God. It was in breathtaking surroundings in an environment that filled the senses with the stunning beauty of God’s creation.
The weekend surprisingly began with Matthew 6:25-34 the “do not be anxious” passages. As we read through them verse by verse, I began to take heart at the uplifting and vital message.
It’s not about abandoning your responsibilities. It’s not about sitting back and waiting for God to drop food into your yard like He did with the Israelites in the desert. It’s about forgoing the desire to keep up with the newest diet, the best wine or designer water, the latest fashion or exercise fad. It’s about living simply, and honoring God first in everything – self, relationships, work, thoughts, speech, and action.
It’s about understanding that if God can feed birds and cause magnificent flowers and fruit to bloom during drought and scarcity, He will make provision for your basic needs.
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (vv 31, 33)
What is the kingdom of God? How do we seek it?
It’s not about laws and rules. Jesus berated the Pharisees about that. They were great at keeping rules, but they weren’t faithful in their hearts. They didn’t seek God, they sought power and honor for themselves. Jesus told us we have to be more faithful than the Pharisees. (Remember: “You have heard…but I say…” Matthew 5:27-47) Faith isn’t just for show – it’s a deep, heartfelt commitment to following Jesus. Oswald Chambers said, “In intimate personal belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ and make a determination to be dominated by him alone.”1
It’s about helping needy children, the single elderly, and foreigners among us.
It’s about doing the small things, encouraging others. It’s about being a vessel so God can shine his light and love through you. It’s about offering a smile to someone having a bad day even when you’re feeling crappy. It’s about making a call or sending an email or text message even when you don’t think you have time. It’s about putting someone else first even when you’re having a bad day. It’s about doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
It’s about remembering that when Jesus said,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)
he didn’t mean for us to seek or build anything for personal gain or recreation. Sorry, but this includes the mammon-driven “prosperity gospel.” There is no such thing. If it’s all about you, it’s not all about Jesus. If it’s all about you, it’s not all about the Father. If it’s all about you, then you have become your own idol.
Matthew 7:7-8 is about asking the Holy Spirit to tell us what we can do to seek and build God’s kingdom.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
This reminds me of the beautiful Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. It’s about contemplating two roads that “diverge in a yellow wood,” one highly traveled, the other, “was grassy and wanted wear.” After much deliberation, the traveler, “took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
1Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 6, Dodd, Mead & Co., Inc. c1935