SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM!
What did Jesus have in mind (Matthew 6:25-34)? What kind of a kingdom was He talking about (Luke 17:20-21)? What deep theological meaning are we to look for (Matthew 4:4)? Are we asked to seclude ourselves from the world and move into some heavenly domain (John 17:15-19)?
Well, the text suggests not what was on Jesus’ mind, but what was on the minds of the disciples? The same things happen to be very much on our minds these days. The disciples were worried where their food and clothing would come from. They were traveling with Jesus and it was not a paying job. It was also risky and temporary. They never knew what the next day would bring. Such worries kept the disciples from performing their daily duties. This is very much the case with us. By fretting about tomorrow, we neglect to be efficient for the day. And like the disciples, our faith is so small that it barely sees us through the day.
How did Jesus go about boosting the moral of His disciples? He had them consider the birds and the flowers. Thanks to a Heavenly Father, the birds never starve and the flowers are more gloriously adorned than Solomon in all his glory. Jesus wanted the disciples to realize that they were of much greater value than birds or flowers that God cared for. In fact, they had a much higher purpose than to exist merely for food and clothing. Such a limited priority is essentially pagan. Yet, it is this pagan desire to survive that hunts us all. As refugees at the onset of World War II, our father stood in line for hours to purchase a loaf of bread. We were not there for the bread but to escape with our lives from a system that did not value our lives.
It is the preservation of life that makes the kingdom possible. If we value material things more than life, then we shall have no kingdom, not even a nation (Romans 14:17). It is not just any kind of life we must aim for, but a life that pursues righteousness according to what God has willed for mankind (Matthew 5:20; 7:21). Such a life does not concern itself with the next day or the extra hour it may need to fulfill its task. It does what is right one day at the time and that is what builds a kingdom or a nation. Such a person responds to the invitation of Christ today and allows Him to take control and make that person a member of His kingdom (Psalm 95:8-11; Luke 19:5). And such a person no longer seeks for the kingdom because he/she carries it in his/her heart (Luke 17:20-21).