Wednesday, August 27, 2008

But Seek First His Kingdom

Matthew 6:25-34 can be summed up like this:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

I've had some trouble doing this lately, so I ask - What does this look like? What does seeking His Kingdom mean? What does seeking His Righteousness mean?

9 comments:

Jim Jordan said...

It's hard to do, that's for sure. In a nutshell, we have two purposes, to serve God and act more and more like his son. For the first, I like how Paul puts it in Col 3:17 - "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." If you can keep the kingdom of God as your prime motivator, then you'll never feel like you missed something. Something like that.

III said...

Funny -- I just preached this Sunday. Looking at the context, Jesus is talking about worrying. We think that we should concern ourselves with the matters that Jesus is saying we should turn over to God.

In turn, Jesus is telling us what we SHOULD concern ourselves with. And then there's that verse 33. It's as if Jesus is saying, "You let me worry about the worrisome things. The only thing you need to concern yourself with is Kingdom business."

What is Kingdom business?

I'd say Isaiah 61 (which Jesus quotes in Luke 4 when He announces Himself & introduces His ministry) is a good place to start...

III said...

Practically-speaking...

... in your job, it means being salt & light. It means seeing your place as being more than just a means to provide financially, but also as a place to be a witness for the reign of God.

... and in general terms, I think it means that it's not just enough to pursue the American dream. That what we chase should be matters of eternal significance. HOW exactly we flesh that out -- WHAT exactly that looks like -- we have to examine examples we have in Scripture & around us today, and ask ourselves probing questions in terms of how we measure up.

I ask you: what do YOU think it means? What do you think it doesn't mean?

FYI, I may not be able to continue this conversation much longer as I'll be up in God's country (read: ALABAMA) this weekend :)

III said...

BTW, I like your question. I think it's an important question for us ALL to ask.

Personally, I think it is a vital question for ministers like me to ask when I preach. Whenever I'm putting together a sermon, one of the biggest questions I ask is, "Yes, but HOW???" I'll often print out a sermon & proof-read it, and one thing I'll often write as a corrective note "YBH."

I try to avoid preaching platitudes. I know it sounds like I'm doing that in my responses here. But it's only because I'm trying to not write an essay (in the interest of being concise) & it's difficult to be practical without a particular context.

Anywho, I like this conversation :)

berry said...

I just read John Stott's commentary on this last week and thought it was profoundly helpful for me. He points out that in the vocabulary of Jesus "to seek" and "to be anxious" are interchangeable. So we are not to worry or be anxious about the things God has promised to provide: food, clothing, etc..., instead we should be anxious for the spread of God's kingdom and righteousness into every corner of the world.

Stott would also say that what we seek is what we're ambitious for. And there are only two kinds of ambition: "one can be ambitious either for oneself or for God. There is no third alternative."

He also says that "there's something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he would acquire just a little more honor in the world. No."

It was a really helpful commentary and I'm tempted to quote it all here but I think I've written enough. I look forward to the rest of the discussion.

MCC said...

I can't tell you what it would look like not to worry. This is my biggest struggle in life. I worry about everthing. I even create stuff to worry about. Seriously.

As for seeking righteouness first. I've never done that either. I've SAID that Jesus is #1 in my life, but my actions say otherwise. Spending money instead of tithing. Watching TV instead of reading scripture. Judging someone instead of praying for someone. Lying instead of honesty.

The desire is in me to do things justly. At least I think it is. I want to love Him. I want to love others the way He wants me to. I just don't always execute it well.

Thanks for including me in your discussion. Worry/ Fear is my #1 prayer right now...

Tam said...

1- do not worry about my life. why? why not worry? because our goal is suppose to be Heaven. if we know that is our destination, then what is there truly to worry about?

2- we are to love God and love people. the only other things that will be in Heaven with us...God and people. so, to me, to seek His kingdom is to envision it full of His children. as we here, on earth, are reaching people, His children, loving them (as He called us to do) then we are seeking the Kingdom. yes? no? im just thinkin out loud here ;-)

seek His righteousness? seek all that is right, pure, perfect. staying focused on those things that are of Him. even in the world we can do this as serve Him for His purposes.

again, thinkin out loud. anxious to read more comments too.

jc said...

Hey Matt - what a great topic of conversation. There's some other good stuff in Matthew where Jesus describes the Kingdom. Particularly Matthew 13 has several parables which I think help. Perhaps, though, they are in parables because Jesus wants us to sit down and chew on these things and not have a nice comprehensive definition.

Also Romans 14:17 I think is a good complimentary verse on the Kingdom of heaven vs worldly things.

Romans 10, 1 Cor 1:30, 2 Cor 5:21 have some great stuff on righteousness.

Overall it seems that God calls us to pursue that which we cannot obtain for ourselves (i.e. righteousness, his kingdom, salvation), and not worry about that which we think we can provide ourselves (food, clothing). This is because we know that ultimately if he provides the important things, he'll take care of details too.

The timeless words of Bobby McFerrin sum it up, "Don't worry, be happy"!

Justmatt said...

Thanks for all the input folks! What a great conversation! I was having a really down morning when I wrote this - but you guys rock my blogesphere!