But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt. 6:33)
It is easy to romanticize this passage. Most of us do not really worry about whether or not we will have food to eat or clothes to wear. Jesus’ statement that we should seek his kingdom and his righteousness and trust that we will have enough of life’s necessities seems like the pious talk one might expect from a Messiah, but most of us rarely need to put it to the test.
But this passage gets trickier when we consider that Jesus might be asking us to trust him not only for literal food and clothing, but also for the ways we find our real security. Think of the last time a sermon really challenged you. Maybe you were convicted of a secret sin you had been harboring, unconfessed. Maybe you were challenged that one of your actions or attitudes that you thought was perfectly fine was actually deeply wrong. When these things happen, it is so easy for us to pretend that we have not done anything wrong. We fear acknowledging our sin; we fear giving up the moral high ground and acknowledging that we have something to learn.
It is then that this passage really means something. To seek God’s kingdom and righteousness means to conform ourselves to the truth ever more each day, and to trust that he will take care of our needs for security and esteem.
Trust that God cares for our needs when we seek his kingdom.
Michael Jordan is the dean of the chapel at Houghton College (New York), where he also serves as chair of the department of biblical studies, theology, and philosophy.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.