Sunday, 10 January 2021 z
Title: First Thing First
By Elder Yu Chin Shie

Matthew 6:33

“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”

This verse:

“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.”

Prayer –

Heavenly Father,

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,
Amen

每日灵粮
星期日,2021年1月10日
题目:要事为先
作者:余清熹长老
翻译:杨仕涵弟兄

马太福音6:33

你们要先求他的国和他的义,这些东西都要加给你们了。

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。

作为一个年轻的信徒,(当时我上大学,在墨尔本参加海外基督徒团契),即使是学生,我们常被提醒应该设好我们生活中的优先次序。课堂的学习和取得良好成绩不应成为生活的最重要事项。我们应当把上帝放在首位,不要忽略我们与上帝的日常亲近、且要研读圣经、顺服圣经、参加教会崇拜和团契、传福音给不信的人。我们坚信,当我们有一个对的优先次序,上帝必赐福于我们的学业、工作。

那是四十年前了。我感谢上帝,马太福音6:33仍然是我一生的指导原则,我想许多读者也与我在这一点上有同感。我们要在工作、事业、家庭关系以及人与人交往的所有领域中将上帝为首位。

让我们更详细地研究马太福音6:33:

这节经文是耶稣在登山宝训中间所讲的。耶稣教导听众们如何放下对日常基本需求的顾虑。耶稣告诉他们不要为生命忧虑吃什么喝什么,为身体忧虑穿什么,因为上帝如看顾活飞鸟、花草,祂也必看顾我们。(马太6:25-32)

然后,祂指导门徒们的焦点:

“你们要先求祂的国和祂的义,这些东西都要加给你们了”

这节经文:

“你们要先求祂的国和祂的义,这些东西都要加给你们了”不是指你所想要的,而是指你的基本的需要,如饮食和穿着。

上帝已应许必使祂的选民一切所需用的都充足(腓立比书4:19),但祂对我们所需要的东西的观念常常与我们的观念不同,并且祂的时间往往不符合我们的期望。例如,我们可能认为我们的需要具有财富或职业发展,但上帝知道我们需要的是一个贫穷、失落或孤独的时期,这样我们并可以宣告:“我靠着那加给我力量的,凡事都能做”(腓立比书4:13)。

根据我的个人经验,在我努力寻求祂的过程中,我并没有发现我缺乏任何基本需要,然而我经常获得超出我期望的需求。

我需要指出的是,我们必须警惕在世界各地逐渐流行被称为“成功神学”的异端。假先知、假师傅的关键信息是“上帝要你变得富有、有钱!”。这种原理不是圣经的教导,更不是马太福音6:33的教导,马太福音6:33并不是获取财富的公式。

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。

我们如何知道我们正在寻求神的国度?我建议我们花些时间反思主要消耗我们的思想、时间和努力的事物。这些食物是否会损坏,还是会持续到永恒呢?从上帝的话来看,可存到永恒的两件事就是上帝的话和人。

“草必枯干,花必凋残,唯有我们神的话必永远立定。”(以赛亚书40:8)

“这些人要往永刑里去,那些义人要往永生里去。”(马太福音25:46)

如果我们花时间研读圣经以更亲密地认识耶稣,并努力向不信的人分享福音,带领他们归向基督并教导他们如何跟随耶稣,我们可以确定我们正在投资于永恒的事物,并将获得无价的赏赐。
去行这些事的信徒们可以放心“……这些东西都要加给你们了。”

祷告

天上的父,

我们感谢祢提醒我们不要为明天和我们的日常需要而忧虑,并要先求祢的国和祢的义,祢就将供应。

在这场史无前例的新型冠状肺炎疫情中,许多人经历了痛苦,愿祢赐我们信心继续信靠祢,并以祢为我们生命的首位。

奉耶稣的名,

阿门