“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as
well.” Matthew 6:33
‘So, if you seek the kingdom of God and do it the way that we tell you, you will have everything you want.’
At least that is how the prosperity gospel goes. Like so many similar scriptures, this scripture in Matthew has been tortured and twisted to make it sound as if by following a particular dogma or teacher/preacher and giving to their cause all your troubles will be taken care of. Your success in this world is guaranteed. But, that’s not what Jesus was saying. Not by a long shot.
First, we must seek the kingdom of God. And is not found in the writing or teaching of the prosperity gospel leaders. It is found in the person Jesus Christ. Seeking the kingdom of God is looking continually to Jesus. Trusting in the Word of God and living in the way that Jesus lived. As Paul writes it is ‘putting on the clothes of Jesus’ (Romans 13:14). We are not commanded to give money to a teacher/preacher or ministry in expectation of reward.
Just as important we are not commanded to follow a dogma or discipline of a particular denomination; we are to look to Jesus. Always, looking to His works and His commandment to love God above all else and like wise to love one another (Matt. 22:37 – 39). We are to live as Jesus lived. Caring for the outcast, the poor and the sick. It is not about our reward; it is about loving one another and honoring God the Father with our love.
The kingdom of God is not some far off place, above or below us. It is not a destination yet to come. As N. T. Wright, author and former Bishop of Durham writes about the present tense of the Lord’s prayer, he says:
“Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from
earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's
Prayer is about.”
― N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the
Seeking the kingdom, is seeing what we can do in this world today for our fellow travelers. It is using each moment we have to reach out to the homeless, the poor, the hungry and those seeking spiritual guidance. It is the ministry of Christ that we read of in the gospels. That is seeking the kingdom of God.
As for the things that will be given to you, it is not a new vehicle, riches and homes. No, the things are defined in the verses just before Matt. 6:33.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we
wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you
need them.” Matthew 6:31 – 32
The things we need are the things given to us.
What we need in order to do the work of God is what we receive when we look to Jesus continually.
Jesus says, “Do not worry”. Yet worry seems to be in our very nature. It is difficult not to be concerned with what you do not have when it comes to basic care. But the Lord of All Things tells us not to worry. He will provide for us, we must only trust in Him.
Too often our worries take our eyes from Jesus and put them on the world. As Jesus says, “pagans run after all these things”. That does not mean that we are chasing frivolous things, but when we trust in our God our needs will be met. We may not see how. We may not feel it possible, but with God all things are possible. If we take our eyes off this world and trust fully in the loving Father, we will have our needs met.
If we are to pursue or seek the kingdom first, then we must be assured that God will meet our every need. Our part is to keep Jesus first. To love God above all else and to love our neighbor the same. This is what Jesus was telling His disciples and what He is telling us today. ‘Seek me first and I will give you the peace that all will be given to you’. The peace of Jesus will wash away the worry and we will have, in abundance, the things that we need to follow God’s will for our lives.
We're Park Hill Christian Church in KC MO. We seek to follow Jesus by praising God, loving those we meet and serving the vulnerable.
6601 Northwest 72nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64151 | 816-741-1851