Summary: The Kingdom of god, radically living out our faith
Unleashing the People of God
What do you think about more than anything else? What occupies more of your time, energy and emotions more than any other item? I’m serious! What do you daydream about? When you’re by yourself in the car and your mind drifts away where does it go? The world snickers and looks at us men and winks, “We know where it goes.”
But here is one of the truest statements I can make. Each of us only has so much time, energy and passion to devote in our lives. Does everybody here agree with that statement--none of us can passionately pursue everything?
So if, at the bare minimum, you spend 50 hours a week sleeping, 40 hours a week working, 12 hours a week eating, what do you do with the other 66? Some of you will say “Add another 10 on my work hours. Okay, so 56?
How much time do you give your wife? How much do you designate for your kids, grandkids? What about baseball, basketball, golf, leisure stuff, tv, time with friends? Daggone! Time’s going pretty quickly, huh?
I had an argument with a friend of the other day. I put some sinks in for my wife (they look awesome) and for my mom. My friend said, “If you really loved them you’d pay someone to do it.” My response was, “The time it took was part of the gift.” Money can be recovered, you can never get time back.” My friend said, “Right now I can’t think of a smart alecky reply to that, but I will.” My friend couldn’t think of a smart alecky reply because she knows it’s true.
Time is part of the gift, maybe the most precious part of the gift. Because you and I can spend it any way we want, but we can only spend it once. Time is always the greatest identifier of what’s really important in our lives. More than money, more than words.
So here it is—168, 66, 56—how much of your time is spent seeking God? Not your words, not your money, how much of the 24 hours in your day are you passionately pursuing God’s kingdom? His righteousness in your life?
Oh, come on, Rick, you can’t seriously use that as a litmus test for the reality of my faith. You’re right, I can’t! But, God does.
Listen: Matthew 6:12-21, 24 (p. 685)
In fact almost the entire discussion of Jesus in Matthew 6 is all about what we spend our time and energies worrying about, going after, pursuing. He then says:
I. Pagans run after, God’s children seek. Matthew 6:32 (p. 685)
Run after, chase. It’s like the old cartoon where the stick holds the carrot in front of the horse’s nose to keep him moving in the direction the driver wants the horse to go. Satan drives this world. How? He wants to hold out in front of us things to chase after, run after: clothes, food, popularity, money, stuff! Come on; spend your time running after this stuff, it’s what you want. And the driver keeps us heading in just the direction he wants while we “run after it.”
God and His kingdom aren’t running from anyone. He wants to be found. He even is the one who begins the seeking process. He is the seeker of lost people (remember Romans 3:11, “no one seeks God). But after he knocks, after the Holy Spirit calls, He waits for us to open the door and let Him in. He rewards those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 say, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
God says, “Here I am” through his Holy Spirit. “Seek me.” And when you turn toward God in repentance He runs in your direction, not away. God isn’t playing hide and seek. He wants to be found. It’s just seek!
Unbelievers, lost people, run after stuff. God’s children seek. His kingdom, his righteousness. Their passion, their time and energies are His.
How can you know?
II. Because God comes first
But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness. That’s a radically different concept than the “I believe in Jesus so I don’t have to go to Hell” theology. What Jesus is saying here is not that you won’t have to work or sleep or do other stuff. He’s not saying you can’t have any fun or have a full, abundant life. (John 10:10)
What he is saying is the kingdom of God and a life that honors its King should be the filter everything else flows through. Consider life in full view of Jesus. Don’t just tip your hat to him on Sunday mornings or when trouble comes along. It’s not a coincidence that God declares He is a jealous God in Deuteronomy chapter 6. And that Jesus compares our relationship to Him as a marriage. Listen: Ephesians 5:22-23 (p. 829)