First Things First

First Things First

Everyone has priorities, values and ambition. The real question is, “In what and in whom have we placed them?” The answer really is not all that difficult. Self is either sovereign or the Savior is. When God and His will are NOT our greatest desire and pursuit, the Lord gets crowded out. It is so easy for OUR ego, OUR comfort, OUR status, OUR desires and OUR stuff to be the controlling interest of our lives. 

Jesus, however, shatters such short-sighted and seriously-flawed thinking. “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Notice 5 observations from this text. 

It Begins With a Contrast – “But.” In contrast to the pagan-like and worry-ridden nature of many, you do this, Jesus says. Only when we’ve grasped something of the greatness of God can we see life as it really is. God and His will are our most precious treasure (6:19-21). God and His will are our greatest vision and focus (6:22-23). God and His will are our ultimate Master (6:24). And God and His will are our truest security (6:25-34). Jesus beautifully tied Matthew 6:19-24 and 25-34 together with “Therefore I say to you” (6:25). Thoughtful consideration should lead to appropriate response. 

It Continues With an Obligation – “Seek.” “Seek” is imperative and indicates an unceasing quest or search is involved. One is to pursue and to endeavor to obtain the desire in view. Interestingly, the same term is used for seeking God in prayer (7:7), for seeking “fine pearls” – God and His will in Matthew 13:45 and for the shepherd who leaves the 99 to seek “the one gone astray” (18:12). The word says much about energy and effort! 

It Declares a Priority – “First.” The Lord does NOT say to have this in our “top 10 list,” to “make it a priority” or for it to be even second but “first.” See Colossians 3:1-2 and Matthew 22:36-40. The Lord Himself is establishing what ought to be preeminent. He pleads with us to see the importance of what He is saying. 

It Designates an Object – “The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.” The kingdom of God has to do with His rule or reign, and is particularly seen in His reign in the church (Matthew 16:16-18; Colossians 1:12-13). See this expression elsewhere in Matthew’s account (6:33; 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43). God’s “righteousness” also is to be diligently sought. This has to do with His will (Psalm 119:172; Matthew 6:10). We must trust Jesus as Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). Some may desire a Savior who don’t really want a Lord. Others may desire a Lord who don’t really want or think they need a Savior. We must greatly desire BOTH! 

It Offers a Conditional Promise – “And All These Things Shall Be Added to You.” What unbelievable potential is here! The promise, while available to all potentially, is especially for those who come to Him – for those who “seek first” what He’s speaking about. Jesus says our “needs” will be taken care of. How thankful we should be for God’s daily provision! However, if we truly first desire “His kingdom and righteousness,” what we desire the most is to be a citizen of His kingdom and to be right with God. The One Who preached this sermon is also the One Who makes this possible. What treasure! 

Mike Vestal 

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