Seek First the Kingdom of God and thesethings will be given to you as well. [1]

dsc_1890
Surviving members of “Seven Sounds”:  Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews; Rose Thornton McKinney James, and Spencer Barefield at my 40th pastoral anniversary (Floyd Jones Jr. and Tyrone Golden, Linda Farmer not pictured)

 

 

Life is full of surprises.  I learned the other day that a friend from my youth has experienced a stroke.  Some of his brain functions are working and some are not.  I called him yesterday, he lives too far away in another state for me to go see him.  We talked briefly on the phone.  He told me he was glad I called him.  I shared with him some reflections of how smart he has been all his life and that I believe his God-given intelligence will help him to regain his memory.  I also told him I was praying for him.  He thanked me and hung up the phone without saying goodbye.  I did not get my feelings hurt, but thanked God for our youth and all the fun we had. 

I mention my friend because I believe he is frightened and frustrated that he cannot remember everything.  He is a musician.  He cannot remember the lyrics to songs, but he can still play the piano.  He makes his living singing, playing and entertaining.  He is a natural clown.  In our youth, he showed me how to play popular songs that were on the radio.  I can remember today him teaching to play, “My Girl” and “Cool Jerk” and many other songs on the piano.  In high school, he had a band that played several dances around Detroit.  When I finally made it to the 11th grade, I started a band and we too played parties and other events in Detroit.  I believe it is only a matter of time before he will be able to sing and play again.

My friend is not really the illustration for this devotional, but he is heavy on my mind.  I hope you will pray for him.

Jesus challenged his listeners to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”  He says this in the context of worry.  Listen to the larger passage of scripture about worry:

Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. [2]

Think for a moment about the things that stress you out – not enough money, not enough sex, not enough companionship, health that is falling apart, parents getting older, children getting older, yourself getting older, and the list goes on.  Yet, Jesus says, “seek first his kingdom and righteousness.”

If we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, we put God first.  The values and principals of God become our guiding map for the direction of our lives.  If we seek first the kingdom of God, love will dictate how we interact with others.  If we seek first the kingdom of God, we will resist the temptation to be mean and cutthroat in our relationships with others.  This does not mean to roll over and let someone abuse you, but rather, it means that we work our best to do our best without lying, cheating, and misusing another person.  When we try to live in this manner, God has promised to bless us in this life and the life to come.

Questions for Reflection:

1. What makes you anxious?

2. What is it about seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness that allows the believer in God to receive blessings in this world?

Prayer:  Lord, today I put you first.  Today I seek your kingdom.  Today I seek your righteousness.  Today I stop worrying about those things over which I have no control, and focus more upon those things I can control.  Bless me now with patience.  Bless me now with hope.  Bless me now in this world and bless me in the world to come.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Clifford Rockefeller

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/


Missions, Books and Events sponsored by Nicholas Hood III Ministries at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org


 


 



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 6:33). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 6:25–34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.