(This was originally published as an audio podcast in the Handfuls of Purpose Podcast at the Dallas Primitive Baptist Church website)
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
There sure are a lot of things competing for our attention today. Just turn on the TV, and you will see cultural problems, injustices in the world, war, death, famine, pain, tragedy, and so much more. Then there is the stuff that is closer to home. There is financial stress brought on by the current pandemic and the number of people losing jobs. There are businesses closing down, and then there is just fear. Fear of falling ill or the fear of a loved one falling ill. As a believer, if you have children, there is the constant fear that the sinful nature of this world and its growing boldness might overtake them. Then there is politics. Do not get me started on politics and the ugliness that it has ushered into our age, and I mean from both sides of the proverbial isle. No one seems to respect the concept of truth anymore.
With all that said, Matthew 6:33 is and always has been a very comforting verse to me. It helps me to understand that there is something beyond all the distractions of this life on which I can focus. Did you know that God’s kingdom is already here and that we have access, even now, to the righteousness of God? When John, the Baptist started preaching, Matthew 3:2 tells us that his first message was to repent “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus, likewise, started his ministry by declaring “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” as recorded in Matthew 4:17. Notice that both John and Jesus declared that the kingdom is “at hand.” To say something is “at hand” is to say that it is near.
I know that is comforting to think of the coming resurrection and an eternity in heaven, and it should be, because when speaking of the resurrection, the Apostle Paul told the church at Thessalonica in Thessalonians 4:13 that they should “comfort one another with these words”. However, the promise of the resurrection is not the only promise from which we should draw comfort. Besides, we need something to help us get through today, and although the promise of tomorrow is encouraging it is helpful to know that God is not just a spectator in heaven waiting for the right time to re-enter our lives. He is actively engaged in providing for us both spiritually and materially. The Kingdom is something that we can experience now, and in it, there is the promise of God’s perfect provision. This kingdom is not some earthly nation that can rise and fall based on worldly circumstance, but rather is a spiritual kingdom. The kingdom that God’s word is speaking of is a spiritual experience and is described in Romans 14:17 as “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” When we get our mind and our heart off the world and focus it on God and his kingdom through obedience to his word and walking in faith, then our faith will be imputed to us for righteousness as it was for Abraham as described in Romans 4:22. Because, Romans 4:23-25 tell us that what happened to Abraham can also happen for us if we are faithful and follow the word. When that righteousness is imputed to us, then, and only then, will we find peace with God, and there is no greater joy in this world of sorrow than to feel at peace with God.
Further, Matthew 6:33 teaches us that if we place a priority on the kingdom and seeking it and the righteousness of God, then “all these things shall be added unto” us. What are the “these things” under consideration? Matthew 6:31-32 tells us to “take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” because God already knows that we need these things. And if we seek the kingdom and his righteousness as our first and primary priority, then these things will be added to us. “These things” are our needs. We have no promise of great earthly riches. We have no promise of perfect health. We have no promise of national peace. But we do have God’s promise that if we follow him and his word, that he will take care of our needs. God will provide!! His word says so, and I am confident that if you examine your experience, you will find that this has been true all along.
Spend more time in God’s word today. See if you can spend more time in his word than watching the news or being concerned about politics. See if you can focus more on the truth of a providential God rather than dwelling on the problems that are going on around us. Seek God, his kingdom, and his righteousness. His kingdom is not far away. Luke 17:20-21 tell us that His kingdom does not come by focusing upon the world and looking around because it is “within you”. In his kingdom, you will find righteousness, peace, and joy.
The poet, Annie Johnson Flint, wrote these words:
God has not promised skies always blue
Flower strewn pathways, all our lives through;
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God has not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptations, trouble and woe;
He has not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God has not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.
And that is today’s Handful of Purpose!!