July 23, 2017: Seek First the Kingdom
July 23, 2017
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
This is perhaps some of the most relevant teaching for our anxiety-driven, pressurized, stressed society today. Jesus tells his disciples not to worry, but he does not just instruct them to do something; he also explains to them why and how to do it (12:22-34). In summary, Jesus is asking us to make a covenant with God as our Father to seek first his kingdom and then God himself will take care of us. Take care of the kingdom, and the King will take care of you.
- Our worry is proportionately related to our generosity. It is no accident that this teaching comes right after Jesus’ parable of the rich fool. If we are not generous with our possessions, the natural human tendency is to worry about them. (12:13-21)
- We are more. One of the reasons we worry is we take a materialistic view of ourselves. But we are far more than food, and our body is more than clothes. We have a spiritual identity, not merely a materialistic one. (12:23)
- Look at the birds! Consider the ravens, in particular. They are well cared for by God. Note this does not mean that the ravens do no work. They work for their food as any bird watcher will tell you. But it does mean that we do not need to worry about our food. (12:24)
- Worry makes no difference anyway. Worry doesn’t add a single hour to our length of life. So why worry? (12:25-26)
- Look at the lilies. Similarly, to the birds while the flowers of the field do work – they must photosynthesize – their example shows us there is no need to worry. God provides for them. He will certainly provide for us! (12:27-28)
- Think about God’s knowledge. Don’t “seek” for these things because our Father knows that you need them. Don’t make it your priority to accumulate more “stuff.” God knows what you need, your heavenly Father loves you, and will provide for what you need. (12:29-30)
- Take the best bargain that was ever offered to humankind! Seek first God’s kingdom and all these things will be added to you. In other words, you put God first, worry about his kingdom, and the Lord of all glory, God himself, will take care of your life. What a bargain! (12:31)
- Think about what God takes delight in. God delights to give his children the kingdom. So don’t worry about church matters or kingdom matters either. God’s pleasure is to give us the kingdom. He delights to do so. Work for the kingdom, for sure; don’t worry about it. (12:32)
- Invest in heaven. Put your heart there by putting your treasure there by being generous with your time, your talent, and yes, your treasure, and you will be investing in the bank of heaven that is eternally secure.
Read Pastor Josh's recent article, 9 Ways to Prioritize God’s Word. As you do, will you consider a year-end gift to God Centered Life to reach people with the Word through the ministry's devotionals, radio broadcasts, and other resources?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."