but seek first

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If you’re anything like my wife and I, then you just love talking about money. In fact, I am sure you absolutely love talking about it when it seems like there isn’t enough. If I could rank this in my favorite conversations to have, it would definitely top out the list. Now that your daily dose of satire is out of the way…is there anything worse than having to talk about money?!? Especially during the season of taxes and refunds (or lack there of) and summer preparation and well, there is always something. And I fear it is true for many of us in any walk of life. There is just something that this world does to us that makes us worry about these things. These things that we think we can control. These things that we think we should have a handle on at this point. These things that make us lose sleep and sometimes even our hair. But is this the way it’s supposed to be?

If I had to read one passage out of scripture for the rest of my life and know that I would still be where Jesus wants me to be, it would be The Sermon on the Mount. No matter how many times I read it, it is always convicting and convincing me of the way of Christ. In particular, his words from Matthew chapter six have hit me today, “Do do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” But Jesus, this isn’t adding up and I’m not sure how we’re going to make it. “Do not worry”. But Jesus, if I don’t get my kid into this program at this time I’m sure I will be putting them at a disadvantage for the rest of their life. “Do not worry.” But Jesus, it seems like everyone else is doing so much better than me at life and I just want to measure up. “Do not worry.”

I think the key phrase behind all of this is Jesus’ final instruction as to how not to worry. “But seek first…” It is easy for me to get things out of sorts. I truly am my own worst enemy when it comes to priorities. But when I find myself spending energy on the things that at the end of the day don’t really matter all that much, I feel the kingdom slipping further and further away. You see, God’s Kingdom lifts up the meek, the mournful, the hungry, the destitute, the outcast, even our enemies. And when I chase after the things that the “pagans” praise, I find myself further and further from the things that God instead chooses to elevate. Pagan is a funny word in our modern context, but it’s pretty easy to apply it to modern times. A pagan is someone who values something God doesn’t. And I “worry”, if I can have license to use the phrase, that sometimes I may be more like a pagan than I want to admit. So today I am trying to seek first and trusting the rest will come.

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