Summary: Understanding how quickly life goes by and how long eternity is should teaches us to have the right priorities. Getting to know God in a personal way should be our greatest priority in life.
FIRST THINGS FIRST [NEW YEAR]
MATTHEW 6:33 [25-34]
Jesus presented evidence that worry is irreverent, for it fails to believe that God is in control, that the God who gave us life is sustaining it. Worry is irrelevant because it does not change things nor help us cope with problems. And worry is irresponsible; it burns up energy that should be used constructively to address the problem. Jesus used the birds of the air to illustrate freedom from anxiety, the lilies of the field to illustrate freedom from status-seeking, and the grass of the field to illustrate our need to assess priorities. [He admonishes us in verse 27 saying that worry cannot add anything to our life; yet it may limit it!]
A reporter covering a COAL-MINE DISASTER wrote a story that began: "God looked at the grief today in this little West Virginia mining town, and He wept." The city editor e-mailed back: "Forget the mine cave-in. Interview God."
Obviously, getting to know God in a personal way should be our greatest priority in life. If we plan on spending eternity with Him then it seems like a good idea to get acquainted with Him now. After all-the disasters of 2011, it may be later than we think. You soon may meet Him face to face.
Understanding how quickly life goes by and how long eternity is should teaches us to have the right priorities. We are, in a sense, here today and gone tomorrow (Jas 4:14). We must have our priorities right in order to take full advantage of life and 2012.
What are your priorities in life? What are your priorities for any given day?
The thrust of Jesus’ lesson is found in verse 33. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Seek first reveals Jesus concern for the priorities of our life. He commands that our first priority be His kingdom and His righteousness. It is fairly easy to be a good Christian when in church. It is more difficult at places such as the home or at the market place where we earn our wages. God wants us to be Christians everywhere, and good Christians at that. It isn’t easy, but He gives us the help that we need if only we will accept what He teaches.
Let’s walk through Jesus’ teaching this morning by using a six point outline.
I. OUR OCCUPATION or focus.
This teaching defines three key issues in life: Shelter, Clothing & Food. These things loom large in importance. We spend at least half of our waking hours with involvement in these things. Probably more concern invested in these than in anything else.
Therefore we are prone to focus on them, just like lost people do. Those who personally know God and understand His loving-kindness and faithfulness should not live with the same anxiety as lost people.
II. OUR OPTIONS or choices.
Jesus indicates that there are two priority options or directions on which we can focus our life. We can go after and be occupied with things as our goal. Or we can seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God as our goal.
Generally, we live life our way. We give ourselves first priority in our life. As a result, we go after the material things that loom large in life.
We give small attention to the spiritual things of life. We expect that somehow spiritual things will take care of themselves.
III. OUR OBJECTIVES (or goals).
Like the lost world we can go after "these other things." We can choose to place the priority for our energies and efforts into providing for ourselves. We can make our primary concern the physical necessities of life: such as housing, food, clothing. If we make these things the goals for our life, they will move it in the direction of the material and earthly.
Or we can go after God’s kingdom and righteousness. These are the Christian’s priority of priorities, a divine priority composed of two parts: God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.
Kingdom [basileia] is that which recognizes and promotes His rule and reign. [To seek first His kingdom is to seek first His rule, His will and His authority. Seeking God’s kingdom is losing ourselves in obedience to the Lord - to the extent that we can.] To seek first God’s kingdom is to pour out our lives into the eternal work of our heavenly Father (Acts 20:24).
Second, We are to seek…His righteousness. Righteousness-that which is in accord with His character or Christ-likeness. Instead of longing after the things of this world, we are to hunger and thirst for the things of the world to come, which are characterized above all else by personal righteousness or obedience to God (Col. 3:2–3). It is to have Jesus’ own truth, love, and righteousness manifested in our lives, and to have "peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17). To seek righteousness is seek to win people into God’s kingdom, that they might be saved and God might be glorified.