I have a “To Do” list. It’s not a “Honey Do” list. It’s my personal list of things to do today. On the list, I might include attending meetings, visiting relatives, and vacationing with the family. I may also include “chores” such as washing the car, weatherproofing the deck, raking the leaves, or mowing the grass.
A few years ago, Toby Keith recorded a song entitled The List. In it, he listed the things he needed to do. Then he sang that there were more important things he hadn’t made it around to doing – things like:
…Go for a walk,
But on this list and on our own lists of things to do, what are we really seeking first? A nice yard? A shiny car? Security? These things, while important, are secondary to something else.
If the first thing on your “To Do” list is loving God, everything else will fall into place. With God at the top of my list everything else will come under His control, including me.
I want to return to Matthew 6, but this time, I want to begin in verse 25 so we can see what He means by “these things” shall be added. Jesus says, "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, “What shall we eat?” or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'”
All these things, clothing, food, life, drink, health, are added to us, He says, and here comes verse 33 again: "But..." The first word is but. He says that instead of asking about what we will eat or drink and what will we wear, we should seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
We are correct in saying that the gifts of God, the kingdom He offers, our citizenship in Heaven, our eternal glorious life, all these things will only be added to us when we seek Him. For this reason, I’m changing the way I write my “To Do” lists. From now on, I’m listing them in order of importance, and from now on, I’m making a point to write: Number One: Seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. I think it’s important that I physically write it in my daily plan and then do it, and not just keep it in the back of my mind.
Maybe it’s time to start on our New Year’s resolution. Maybe by getting started now, and practicing what we plan to do in the new year, we’ll be better prepared to keep the resolution when January comes around. Maybe we should seek God now – first.
OK, so what does that mean? What does it mean to seek? How actively should we seek? The 63rd Psalm may give us more of idea how much effort to put into our seeking. In the first verse, David prays, "O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, In a dry and weary land where there is no water."
David is in the wilderness. He writes that the land around him is dry, and weary. The land is worn out from lack of water. We can imagine he is physically thirsty, and yet he seeks first God. He earnestly seeks God. How many of us thirst for God? Yes, we seek Him, but do we have the thirst David describes.
Water sustains physical life. God sustains spiritual life. Daily intake of each of these is necessary. We couldn’t go four or five days without water and live. Likewise, we can’t go without the Living Water offered by Christ and survive. Edward L. McAdams of Searcy, Arkansas, put it succinctly when he wrote, "We are thirsty for Him now, and we drink in His word, His love, His life! We are satisfied."
How does the song go?
I heard the voice of Jesus say
“Behold, I freely give the living water:
thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream:
My thirst was quench’d, my soul revived,
and now I live with Him.
Continuing in verse 2, he writes, "Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, To see Thy power and Thy glory. Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee. So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, For Thou hast been my help, And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me."
Did you hear it? David defines his thirst for us. If we seek God’s “better than life” lovingkindness, God’s satisfying love, and if we want His right hand to support us, we must bless Him, use our hands for Him, meditate on Him, sing for joy, and cling to Him. In short, in David’s example, he does what Christ, many years later, teaches us to put at the top or our “To Do” lists: Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you…