Summary: Seek first - its about priorities, not about worry
What Pulls The Train
This past week, several of us attended a leadership conference – linked via satellite to over 38 000 Christian leaders. Conferences are almost always great experiences, getting refreshed and inspired and enlightened, learning that PowerPoint can get messed up even in front of 38 000, see that even these huge big-name experts lose their place in the middle of their sermon, world-famous worship leaders sometimes sing the wrong lyrics, and see, above all, that God still works. He still speaks, He still draws us closer to Himself and places within us a fresh understanding of His passion for all His children, as one of the speakers noted, His lost kids and His found kids. And a fresh passion to lead people to God.
It was good timing for me. Leadership conferences tend to talk a lot about vision – specifically about casting it and celebrating it and living it. They tend to talk about getting back to the important things, the reasons for existing, the reason to get out of bed in the morning and plow through another day. The reasons to face the struggles and the joys, and the reasons to press on. That was good timing.
This afternoon is my ordination service, which I hope you can all attend – since it is you as a body who will actually ordain me! At least, I hope some of you can come or else I’m in big trouble… The conference brought me back to that central question: why am I in this? What is it we are pursuing? What is God’s vision, what are we striving for? Niels asked a similar question in an email earlier this week, inquiring if there was a particular verse of Scripture that I felt kind of summed up my call. I thought of it pretty quick, but had to hunt for the reference – it is in the OT story of Balaam: Numbers 22:28a “And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass” (KJV).
Well I don’t really have a “life-verse,” as some people do, but there are a couple that have sure been hitting home consistently. They bring perspective and clarity and vision. Ask the question “what is most important” and my answer is to seek first the Kingdom of God – I’ll read that verse in a moment. Ask “how do we do that” and my answer is to love God and to love your neighbour. Ask how we do that as a church and I’ll tell you quick that we love God through a weekly party of worship – a festival celebrating who He is and what He is doing; and that we love God’s lost kids by being a hospital for dying souls and we love God’s found kids by being a greenhouse that nurtures growth to fruitfulness.
Because that is the Kingdom of God. It is about loving God and loving others. It is about God reigning in our lives and changing us and using us in His Kingdom. It is not my Kingdom, it is God’s Kingdom. And it is a good thing! I start thinking, “God, Your Kingdom should be huge!” and God says, “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.” I say, “God, Your Kingdom should be about fairness!” and God says, “The Kingdom of God is like the master of a vineyard whose grace was scandalous and abundant even to the worker who only contributed an hour.” I say, “God, Your Kingdom should come in mighty power and wipe evil and opposition off the face of the planet instantly!” and God says, “let the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest, and then I’ll sort it out.”
God says, “Seek first my Kingdom and my righteousness. I’ll worry about the rest. And do that by loving me and loving others.”
Let’s read Matt 6:25-34
A Passage About Worry?
I was a little disappointed when I got into my commentaries. They correctly observe that the chief message of the passage is that we should not be worriers. We shouldn’t be anxious. That is the main message – “do not worry.”
It is a lot of fun having an almost-three-year-old chatterbox learning to communicate like his parents. My son has picked up on our phrases, and we hear them back all the time. On numerous occasions he has sought me out in my basement office and greeted me by saying: “daddy here you are, I was looking all over the place for you and I was all worried about you.”
As much a part of the passage as that message is, I don’t hear it as the main message. I believe it is a passage about priorities, not only about “worry.”
Do Not Worry About Your Life.