Summary: Kingdom Investors have the right priorities. Jesus says we are to “Seek first the kingdom of God.” That means the first value of our lives is to invest in the building of the kingdom of God
John Hess-Yoder writes of serving as a missionary in Laos. Before the colonialists imposed national boundaries, the kings of Laos and Vietnam reached an agreement on taxation in the border areas. Those who ate short-grain rice, built their houses on stilts, and decorated them with Indian-style serpents were considered Laotians. Those who ate long-grain rice, built their houses on the ground, and decorated them with Chinese-style dragons were considered Vietnamese. The exact location of a person's home was not what determined his or her nationality. Instead, each person belonged to the kingdom whose cultural values he or she exhibited. And then he writes, “So it is with us, we live in the world, but as part of God's kingdom, we are to live according to His kingdom's values.”
Kingdom Investors have the right priorities. Jesus says we are to “Seek first the kingdom of God.” That means the first value of our lives is to invest in the building of the kingdom of God. But what is the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is any time and place where God's invisible rule and activity is made visible. It is a physical demonstration of heaven on earth. It is the evidence of God's presence demonstrated through a community of people who are living in submission to God's authority. It is where the resources of heaven are in operation on earth. In Matthew 1: 2-5, Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, has just been arrested. Even though John baptized Jesus and proclaimed him as the promised Messiah, now that he is in jail, he has questions. So John told his disciples to ask Jesus if he was truly the Messiah who would usher in the kingdom of God. Jesus answers: "Go back and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor." It was Jesus’ works and miracles which identified him as the Messiah and Lord. As Lord, that means he has the defining rights of our lifestyles, our values and our money matters. When you acknowledge Jesus is Lord then He determines everything about your life, including your money matters because he owns it all. Kingdom Investors recognize it all belongs to God.
Juan Carlos Ortiz talks about life in the kingdom as a valued pearl. He then tells the story of a man who marvels at this pearl and says, 'I want that pearl too. How much does it cost?" "The seller says, 'it's too dear, too costly.' "But how much?' "Well, it's very expensive.' "Do you think I could buy it?' "It costs everything you have -- no more, no less -- so anybody can buy it.' "I'll buy it.' "What do you have?' "I have $10,000 in the bank.' "Good, $10,000. What else?' "I have nothing more. That's all I have.' "Have you nothing more?' "Well, I have some dollars here in my pocket.' "How many?' "I'll see: I have 34 dollars.' "That's fine. What else do you have?' "I have nothing else. That's all.' "Where do you live?" "I live in my house.' "The house, too.' "Then you mean I must live in the garage?' "Have you a garage, too? That, too. What else?' "Do you mean that I must live in my car, then?' "Have you a car?' "I have two.' "Both become mine. Both cars. What else?' "Well, you have my house, the garage, the cars, the money, everything.' "What else?' "Are you alone in the world?' "No, I have a wife, two children...' "Your wife and children, too.' "Too?' "Yes, everything you have. What else?' "I have nothing else, I am left alone now." "Oh, you too! Everything becomes mine -- wife, children, house, money, cars -- everything. And you too. Now you can use all those things here but don't forget they are mine, as you are. When I need any of the things you are using, you must give them to me because now I am the owner."
From the kingdom perspective, our money, our possessions, our life are not our own. When we don’t, a good majority of our life is spent worrying about meeting our financial needs and obligations and accumulating the things we want to buy! But Jesus says when you make the kingdom of God your number one priority, God will take care of your needs so you don’t need to worry about them. That’s a great blessing but with it also comes responsibility.
Third is to seek first God’s kingdom. “Seek first the kingdom of God and God's righteousness.” Righteousness is right action in God’s eyes. It’s not just having right beliefs; it is demonstrating those beliefs in action, including how you handle your money. We are saved by faith but the demonstration of faith is the fruit of our actions. Why did Jesus talk about money more than any other subject, including prayer and faith? Because where you spend your money demonstrates what you value and trust most in life. We are called to invest in the building of the kingdom of God. This is the only right action in the eyes of God and it is this which identifies us as followers of Jesus. 1 John 2:29, "If you know that Jesus is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him."