By R. W. McAlister
Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” This may come as a shock, but most of us fail to do this! Why? Because instead of seeking God’s kingdom first, we’re spending our time wrapped up in the cares of this world! Have you ever considered that if this one passage were followed to its proper conclusion, it would revolutionize the church in all its phases of activity? If we sought first the kingdom of God in attendance, we’d be here every time the doors opened if physically possible! If we sought first the kingdom of God in evangelism, every baptized believer would be speaking the truth in love to every lost soul he or she encountered! If we sought first the kingdom of God in our giving, the church treasury would be overflowing! If we sought first the kingdom of God in edification and encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ, there'd be a lot more folks in the mold of Barnabas to build up and encourage our brethren!
Perhaps the most common sin today is that of reversing the divine order of things; of making secondary things primary, and making primary things secondary. How many people do we or have we known who disregard the importance of attending evening services? Instead, they’re at work because they’d rather make a dollar, or they’re at home because they think their rest is more important and so on. They’ve made what should be a primary concern a secondary one. What about someone who holds back on putting money in the collection plate because he’s worried about finances? Well, he turned a primary concern, indeed an act of worship, into a secondary concern when he put personal finances ahead of worshiping God. It seems incredible that God, who made me, and gave His Son to die for me, should give me the option of saying what place HE shall occupy in my life.
If we’re going to be pleasing to God, we each have some “first things” to do. We have to seek the kingdom first, then all of the things we need will be added to us. Seeking the kingdom first means becoming part of it and putting it first in our lives (I Peter 3:21, Matt. 6:33).
The second thing we have to do on our list of “firsts” is to keep our lives right with God so we can teach others. Matthew 7 verse 5 tells us: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”
We have a responsibility to make sure our brothers and sisters are walking in the way they should (II Thess. 3:15), but no one will ever listen to us until they can see that we’re concerned about the sin in our life and that we’re trying to get rid of it. No one likes a hypocrite.
The final thing we must do is to follow Christ before all others. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Our Savior also tells us in Revelation 2:10, “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Our dedication to the Lord must come first, before all else. We have no right to tell or expect someone to follow a leader we’re not faithfully following ourselves, and friends, people are very critical and they’ll know if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ.
If you need to reorganize your priorities, why wait any longer? “Why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins…” (Acts 22:16).
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/