Sunday, 10 January 2021 z
Title: First Thing First
By Elder Yu Chin Shie
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33 is a well- loved bible verse which many believers and disciples of Jesus Christ have memorized and live out in their lives. The worship song, “Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God” was written in 1971 by Karen Lafferty after a Bible Study on this verse at Calvary Chapel, California. It has become one of the most familiar praise songs, included in many recent hymnals.
As a young believer, (I was then in university and attending the Overseas Christian Fellowship in Melbourne), it was drummed into us even as students that we should have our priorities right. Studies and getting good grades should not be the main priority of life. We are to put God first by not neglecting our daily communion with Him, study the bible, be obedient to His Word, attend church and reach out to unbelievers. We were confident that God would take care of our studies and enable us to get jobs once we graduate as we put our priorities right.
That was over forty years ago. I thank God that Matt 6:33 remains as the guiding principle of my life and I am sure for many of our readers also. We are to put God first in our working lives, career, family relationship and all spheres of human dealings and decisions.
Let’s look into Matthew 6:33 in greater detail:
This verse was given by Jesus in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was addressing his audience’s anxiety about basic needs. He told them not to worry about food and clothing because God would take care and provide for them like he did for the birds and the flowers (Matt 6:25-32)
Then He directed His disciples on where to put their focus:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”
“All these things will be added to you” doesn’t refer to everything you might want. It refers to only your basic needs: things to eat, to drink, and to wear.
God has promised to provide for His own, supplying every need (Philippians 4:19) but His idea of what we need is often different from ours and His timing often do not meet our expectations. For example, we may see our need as having wealth or career advancement but God knows what we need is a time of poverty, loss or solitude, so that we can proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me” (Philippians 4:13).
From my personal experience, as I endeavor to seek Him first, I have not been found to be in want for my basic needs and often was blessed with wants that were beyond my expectations.
I need to point out we must be on guard on a heresy which is gaining ground around the world which is called the “prosperity gospel”. The key message of the false teachers is “God wants you to be rich!”. That philosophy is not the teaching of the bible – and it is certainly not the teaching of Matthew 6:33 which is not a formula for gaining wealth.
Jesus taught that our priority of life should be away from this world – its status and deceptive allurements and instead pursue the things of God’s kingdom.
How do we know we are seeking God’s kingdom first? I suggest we take time to reflect on what primarily consume our thoughts, time and efforts. Is it on goods or activities that will perish, or something which will last for eternity? From the Word of God – two things that last forever are the Word of God and People.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25: 46)
If we spend time studying the Bible to know Jesus more intimately and make effort to share the gospel to unbelievers and lead them to Christ and disciple them, we can be sure we are investing on things which last for eternity and will reap an invaluable reward.
Believers who do just that, can be assured “ … and all these things will be given to you as well.”
We thank you for reminding us not to be anxious about tomorrow and our daily needs but to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness and you will provide for us.
During this unprecedented Covid 19 pandemic where much pain and suffering are being experienced, may you give us the faith to continue to trust in you and put you first in our lives.
In Jesus name,
马太福音6:33是耶稣基督许多的信徒和门徒所喜爱、牢记并在生命中活出来的一节经文。Karen Lafferty于1971年在加利福尼亚州的加略山教堂基督学校（Calvary Chapel）的查经班研读马太6:33后，写下了《先求祂的國和义》这首敬拜诗歌。这首诗歌已成为许多赞美诗中最熟悉的赞美诗之一。
耶稣教导我们，生命的重中之重应该是远离这个世界的 – 世界的地位和诱惑，而应该追求神国度的事物。