Seek First the Kingdom of God

Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.’ (Luke 12: 22)

I don’t consistently live by today’s scripture.  Whenever I read Jesus’ admonition to not worry, I cringe when I remember the nights I’ve been awake at two o’clock—brooding, fretting, and spiraling.

In order to begin leaning into today’s words, it’s important to recognize that the anxiety Jesus is talking about is our preoccupation with material things. We might protest that we need everything we have—but really?  Is there any difference between what we need and what we want? How much is enough?  How much is too much?

Even though Jesus often talked about money and possessions, it’s important to remember that He wasn’t an ascetic like John the Baptist.   Jesus didn’t eat locusts; He went to dinner parties.  He didn’t drink only water; He made good wine.  He wasn’t a puritan, a stiff, a killjoy. Nor was he anti-money, anti-things, anti-possessions.

Jesus frequently talked about things because He knew that our anxiety over things could cause us to ignore what our soul needs and can blind us from seeing the needs of others.  For us to want what we need is normal, but to be driven to have everything we want while so many don’t have enough of what they need, is a serious spiritual issue.

“Can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your span of life?”  Jesus knows that our worry doesn’t add a single good moment to our life.  He knows that our worry robs time, energy, and love from our life.

Can what Jesus says reorient us?  Look at the birds and flowers.  They don’t worry, and God takes care of them.  So, be like a bird or flower—really? Jesus, would you please try again?

He does when he says: “…strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:31).

Do we want less worry?  If so, I encourage us to seek first the Kingdom of God. Doing so may just alleviate some of our worry over stuff.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What would it mean for you to “seek first the Kingdom of God?”
  1. Whose kingdom do you actually care more about? Yours or God’s? If you care more about your own kingdom, how’s that working for you?
  1. Are you addicted to worrying? Do you worry when you don’t? If you care more about your kingdom than God’s, you’ll never be free. If you care more about God’s kingdom, you will be.  What do you really want?

One thought on “Seek First the Kingdom of God

  1. John Madison

    Good morning Jim…I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this post. As much as I love my family, I have to admit that we made worry into an “art form”. We were a religious family and we could quote the scriptures that warned against worry quite well…until it came time to worry. Of course, over the years I’ve come to realize we are always a part of our past; but allowing faith to take over can become a greater part as the years come and go. Nope…no perfection here. I also have my 2:00 am worries…but allowing myself, and others, to be a part of the domain of God is giving life to the day ahead. Thanks again, and God bless in your work and writing. I still hope you are preaching when you have the opportunity. You have a gift that I still appreciate after all these years.

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