Pastor's Piece - Seek You First
by Dr Barry Wright
"Seek You First ..."
The words of Jesus in Matt 6: 33 that were delivered to the disciples so long ago as part of His 'Sermon on the Mount' make it clear that at some stage in our lives there is a need to take stock of our priorities. We need to understand the importance of what we consider to be the greatest desires of our hearts.
Jesus had been warning His listeners against anxiety. In Math 6: 25 He tells them to 'Be not anxious regarding food and clothing'. He illustrates this by referring to the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, emphasizing that man is not without help in his battle for bread. There is One who cares and will provide for all their needs.
Then after making it clear to these newly ordained followers not to worry about the necessities of life, He continues His instruction by saying: 'But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.' This points to man's basic reason for living and is a constant reminder that the God we serve is big enough to take care of all the necessities of our lives, when we seek Him first. This not only includes our physical needs, but all the other needs as well.
We are being advised that temporal blessings will not be denied if spiritual goals are sought.
However, our top priority should be to love God so much that our greatest desire will be to have part in His kingdom and to help others find their way to it. We need to understand that the only way anyone can enter the kingdom of God is through the merits of the righteousness of Jesus. When His spirit becomes ours, we can never be satisfied to keep the kingdom for ourselves.
When we put God first we will see spiritual laws coming into play that will inevitably guide and direct other decisions that we make every day. By knowing that we have put Christ first, the complexities involved in further decision-making should be reduced. When we put God first in our lives, He has a wonderful way of preventing problems, of solving problems, and of providing all those needs essential to our overall well-being.
This belief is reinforced in the book Ministry of Healing p. 481 where author Ellen White asks us to remember that 'Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet' (White, 1909: 481).
In the materialistic age in which we live we face the real danger of reversing these priorities and falling into the trap of seeking material things first and making spiritual considerations secondary.
We need to '…seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.'
This promise will never fail. However, we cannot expect to enjoy the favour of God unless we comply with the conditions upon which His favour is bestowed. If we accept, there will come to us that peace, contentment and wisdom that the world can neither give, or take away. There will come a humble mind and a grateful heart that will elevate us above the petty trials and real life difficulties. The less earnest, energetic and vigilant we are in the service of God, the more we are likely to have the mind dwell upon self, magnifying small molehills into those huge mountains of difficulty.
While Jesus advises us not to be concerned with accumulating this world's treasures (v19), and not to be concerned about our food and clothing, He is not recommending carelessness, but rather He is suggesting we place our trust in God. God knows our needs before we even ask Him (Matt 6:8).
As we commence a new year, there is no better time for us to follow His instruction to '…seek first the kingdom of God' and to take the time to set up an inventory ensuring that we have placed our priorities in the right order.
White, E. G. (1909) 'The Ministry of Healing'. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association.
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