First Priority

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33 ESV

All these things… the things that the Gentiles seek after and prioritize over and above God. The things that we see as daily necessities like food and clothing are often elevated to higher levels of importance in our hearts and minds than they should. All these things will be added when we are setting our hearts on the proper priority of seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. In the day-to-day movement and flow of life it is easy to become distracted and then occupied with the things of this world and to let the material and physical circumstances begin to have more importance than they should. The solution Jesus offers to our chasing after secondary things is rather simple and obvious. Seek Jesus first and foremost. In everything you do, Jesus is the center and the foundation upon which it all stands.

Jesus doesn’t negate the necessity of physical and material things in our life. He acknowledges that we have a need for food and clothing. What Jesus is questioning is the importance of these things in my life over and above my need for Jesus himself. This is truly the center of the mark in my life. The “necessities” of this world take on a greater importance to me than they should be allowed in my heart. And when the necessities become the priority then my whole being is set to seek them at all costs. I worry and stress about how to keep what I have accumulated and hold onto the accumulation that I hold so dear.

These “necessities” become my treasure. Jesus is calling me to seek after a greater and lasting treasure. Seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness is all-encompassing. It is not some additional item on my daily checklist that I can tick at the end of the day and be satisfied. Seeking after Jesus is the framework upon which it all hinges. More than that though, Jesus is to be my everything. There is nothing I do in this life where he should not be the center and foundation of my motivation and desire.

I don’t feel this at the moment. What I feel is my heart being led to seek first other things. I am worried, stressed, and anxious about so many things in my life that distract me from the One True thing that I need. When the pressure comes or when the heat of the day comes, the circumstances of life melt my inward desire for humbleness and dependence upon Jesus. These circumstances stir within me a need for control and I turn to self-reliance and independence. I look at myself over and over again.

The simple answer is once again humility. My heart longs for a deep and intimate relationship with my Savior. My soul’s deepest desire is to know Christ and his great love for me. It is here that I will find rest and peace. All my efforts and striving should be directed at seeking his kingdom and his righteousness. I will only ever find true satisfaction and rest in my relationship with Jesus. A relationship filled with humility.

And when I am seeking Jesus first and foremost, I will find that all these other things have been added to me. Although Jesus may add to my physical comfort, I believe that what Jesus is getting at here is that when my priority is Jesus I will find that I am so satisfied in him that all these things that I currently have are enough. I don’t need a bigger house, a nicer car, a higher-paying job, an exciting vacation, or a unique experience. I will find that all I have and need is found in Jesus alone. The secondary things will be just that, secondary. And I will be able to sing, “You can have this whole world… Give me Jesus.”

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