No two stronger words have ever been spoken. No two words have ever commanded such a response from their receivers. And no two words have ever provided such a high promise than these: “Seek first.”
The phrase comes from a paragraph in the Sermon on the Mount, delivered by the Great Deliverer – Jesus Christ Himself. It is a paragraph that has come to provide much relief to many of us who have been in distress – one that strikes at the chord of our worrisome hearts and our wrinkled brows. “Seek first” is the culmination of a paragraph about worries, apprehensions, anxieties, and fears. “Seek first” is the solution Jesus gives us to combat each of these human reaction to life and the world around us.
Matthew 6, beginning in verse 25, is a passage we read when our bank accounts are low. We read it when our children are in danger, when we face serious disease or injury. Matthew 6:25-34 is a passage we read while taking a deep breath and counting backwards from 100. We read it instead of striking a path to a local bar or to the liquor store.
It comforts me. It relieves me. It enriches me. It consoles me, wrapping its warm, loving arms around me and wiping my tears. “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,” verse 33 says; His kingdom and His righteousness – the solution to worry and distress. His kingdom and His righteousness – the answer to my questions. “What will we eat?” Seek His kingdom. “What will we drink?” Seek His righteousness. “What will we wear?” Seek the kingdom and righteousness of God!
It is fitting that we adopt these two words as our theme for 2010. In times when the courts are establishing precedent against Christianity, in a time when congress makes laws defiant to Christian standards, and in the day and age of uncertain financial and health futures, it is appropriate that the church look to the solution that Jesus so eloquently established with two words: “Seek first.”
If you have a Bible, read the red letters of Christ in its entirety: Matthew, chapter 6, beginning in verse 25.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
"Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
If you have not begun your search – your seeking – Jesus says the time for doing such is now. He says seek first – before you do anything else, seek.
In Matthew 13:44, Jesus explains, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
In verses 45 and 46, Jesus illustrates, “…the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."
These men, gave up their worries and their finances, they forfeited all that that tied them to the physical and material world, in order to attain the kingdom of Heaven and the righteousness of God.
Like the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well in John 4, who upon hearing about the Living Water, dropped her waterpot, we too must drop all our searches for earthly gratification and seek Him…