Seeking First the Kingdom of God

John Stubbs

Please consider for a few moments the Lord Jesus Christís words in Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.í In the Lordís kingdom teaching on the mount in vv 19 to 34 we have a section which is very searching and very practical. We may notice there is to be NO COVETOUSNESS (vv. 22-23). There is to be NO COMPROMISE (v 24). "No man can serve two masters." There is to be NO CARE (vv. 25-34). The Lord would forbid anxious care. This eats away at our spiritual vitals and robs us of child-like trust in our God, and thus knowing the provisions of His care. The heathen nations (v. 32) may be marked by greed or discontentment, and fretting and worrying to such an extent as to focus their life entirely upon the business of accumulating food, drink and clothing. Whereas by contrast the Christian should let the Kingdom of God be the ruling passion in his life.

Notice then that in the verse we have A PRIORITY, A PRINCIPLE AND A PROMISE. "Seek ye FIRST," says the Lord. We must carefully observe that it is not that we are to seek the kingdom of God first and then secondly these things, but seek ye first the kingdom of God and all the rest will come or be taken care of by the Lord. Is not the message clear: Put God and His things first and we shall find our things will have a place in His heart too?

When the Lord says, "Seek ye first," included in this seeking would be preference for spiritual things, intensity of purpose, giving of our time, resisting the temptation of worldliness, etc. If in verses 19 to 24 we have the problem of having too much, in verses 25 to 34 it is the problem of having too little. This can be a real test, but the Lord is saying "seek my things first and I will look after the other things"?

The life of the believer is spoiled if all his time is absorbed in the pursuit of material things. On the other hand, life is blessed if spiritual affairs are given priority.

The present reward of the search is summarized in the words "all these things shall be added unto you." This is a wonderful promise and one that we should rest in and live by. A related verse to this is Paulís words in 1 Timothy 4:8. We can illustrate the principle here by the life of Matthew himself. In response to the call of Christ he turned his back on a lucrative post in an earthly kingdom, but was rewarded by being made an apostle of the Lord and chronicler of Godís King. He was a humble man because he does not mention in his gospel that he footed the bill for the feast he put on for his friends and the Lord and His disciples. It is left to Luke to tell us this. Humility is a grace insisted upon in the kingdom. What have we given up for Christ? The young man Timothy would be another good illustration of the Lordís words in Matthew 6:33. In Philippians 2:20-21, "For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, NOT THE THINGS WHICH ARE JESUS CHRISTíS." Priscilla and Aquila in Romans 16:4 are a godly couple who sought first the kingdom of God and so much so they laid down their necks for Paulís good and put their home at the disposal of the saints. The interests of Christ were paramount in their lives. Let us then by the help of God put the things of the kingdom first. What a crying need there is for Christians to put this basic teaching of Christ into practice and what a difference in our lives and assemblies there would be if this were the case.