Summary: The "First Priority principle", the principle that if we put God FIRST and God will bless us, is found throughout the Bible. This sermons show 3 Bible passages this principle played out, and 3 ways we can put this principle into practice in our lives.
The First Priority Principle
February 22, 2015
TEXT: Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
I’m sure you’ve heard sage advice to, Always put first things first. That’s an important principle in every area of life.
Illus. – Several years ago when I was pastoring in Wiesbaden, I was driving home from Frankfurt when my car started heating up. So I pulled over and opened the hood to see what might be the problem—coolant level—check; hoses—check; everything else I could think of—check.
Fortunately, a German pulled over and in broken English said he was a mechanic and proceeded to look at my car to see what was the matter. After checking a few things, he checked the oil—which was bone dry! He looked at me and said, “Da ist no öl in your car. You must FIRST put öl in it.”
Yes, it’s important to make sure you put first things first.
Illus. – Pastor Haddon Robinson points out that one old recipe for rabbit stew started out with this injunction: First catch the rabbit. – Well, yeah, I guess if you want rabbit stew, you’d better get you a rabbit first!
Putting first things first also involves prioritizing.
Illus. – A group of friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under an eight-point buck.
Where’s Harry? he was asked.
“Harry had a stroke of some kind. He’s a couple of miles back up the trail.”
You left Harry laying there, and carried the deer back?
Well, said the hunter, I figured no one was going to steal Harry.
I’ll leave you to decide whether or not this hunter put the right thing first. – I guess it depends on how avid a hunter you are! You know, there are some things that ought to be FIRST in priority. In fact, life is filled with prioritizing our lives. We’re all extremely busy, so we have to make choices. We must choose what is of first priority and do those before lesser things.
In our text this morning, we find Jesus preaching His famous Sermon on the Mount. In the previous verses, he said, Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t get all in a kink about where you’re going to get your food and clothing. God will take care of you.
Look at what He said in verses 31-32: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Then he adds this in verse 33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Do you see what He’s saying? He’s saying, FIRST seek God and His kingdom, and THEN you can be sure God will take care of your needs.
Several times Jesus begins His teaching of a particular subject with the word, first. The word first, by simple definition, means that which is foremost. This is the very thought Jesus had in mind when He told His followers to Seek FIRST the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.
Jesus was teaching what I call, The First Priority Principle. This is not the only place in God’s Word we find the First Priority Principle. In fact, it weaves its way throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. Let’s look at some other places in the Bible where we find the First Priority Principle, and then see how we personally can apply the principle to our lives:
I. FIRST, NOTE THE FIRST PRIORITY PRINCIPLE IN THE STORY OF ELIJAH AND THE WIDOW WOMAN OF ZERAPHATH IN 1 KINGS 17:9-16.
Turn to 1 Kings 17 and let’s begin at verse 9: Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
At this stage in Elijah’s life, Israel was in the midst of a great drought and famine. God told him to go to a widow woman in a Gentile village for sustenance.
Now that was a strange command. The LAST person able to feed and take care of a preacher was a widow. Widows were invariably deeply poverty stricken. They were usually the first to run out of food in a famine.
Now look at verse 10: So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. – So Elijah goes to the village, and asks the first woman he sees for water and food.