sunset clouds

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

I think I’ve been missing the meaning of this verse all along.

Over the weekend an old friend from Colorado stopped by as he was passing through. I answered the door to greet him, and in typical fashion he just stared at me from behind his white beard, expressionless, and then gave me a big hug.

He sank into our recliner and we caught up on the last four years, on the time that has passed since his wife died unexpectedly, when he sold nearly all of his possessions and moved to Burma, and then ended up in Canada as a missionary on an Indian reservation, which is where he lives now.

He recalled how his life changed after losing his wife, his perspective on life in particular. He said he wrote God a blank check, told Him He could have anything and everything, whatever the cost. “You know,” he said, his deep voice steady and even,“we’re always planning our next vacation or next hunting trip when there are people all around us dying and going to hell…And I do the same thing. I’ve lived my life that way for years.”

That night I retraced our conversation, inspired by his faith and surrender, encouraged by the Lord’s work through his life. I prayed that God would help me seek first His kingdom, and suddenly that scripture began to shift and reshape.

For years I’ve reduced Jesus’ admonition to something like seek Him and all will come, or put Him first and your life will work out—my main concern the end and not the means. But it’s not about me and how to make my life great. Seeking His kingdom and His righteousness includes seeking God and wanting everyone else to seek Him too. Desiring that collectively His creation would cry out to Him, would heed the Blood of the Lamb, would cling to His mercy and grace. His kingdom is our only hope, His righteousness our redemption. The antidote to the darkness, the suffering, the toil and spin. It’s eternal, here and now, and will one day heal all things and renew all things. This is why we must seek it.

I wonder if I could do the same thing, write God a blank check. It seems far beyond me. So much of my focus and worry is set on building my own kingdom—my own plans, hobbies, and lifestyle. I need His help to redirect my focus, for even the desire to put His kingdom and righteousness first, not my own.

Jesus tells us to pray that His kingdom come. May we continue to pray this, and also for  help in seeking His kingdom first. Amen.


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