But First

January 16, 2023

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV

Priorities. Actually, wordsmiths and purists will tell us that “priorities” is technically a non-word. The more pedantic among us would rightly say you can’t have more than one priority at the same time because priority denotes first place. Priority means most important and you can’t have one most important thing simultaneously.

We try to get around that by saying we have one priority at work, another at home, and perhaps another when it just comes to ourselves. But if we are sincere Jesus followers and want to live life His way, we’ll have to hear and follow Him on this subject. He tells us how to get the life we want most—the “all things” that vie for priority placement in our lives.

Jesus said the number-one priority in ALL of life—personal, home, and work—is to seek His kingdom. What does that mean? God’s kingdom is the reign of Jesus, the realm where Jesus’ authority is acknowledged and obeyed. To seek God’s kingdom is to desire and use our energies to see Jesus’ rule recognized and honored in three realms: 1) within our own life, 2) in our circle of immediate influence, and 3) as far around the world as we can reach. It means we live our lives as He lived, loving as He loved, bringing HIS kingdom to the people around us.

We cannot compartmentalize our lives if this is our first priority. We will order all of our lives around the will and mission of Jesus. Think about the way you order your life right now. Is your first and consistent aim at your work to bring His kingdom in? How about at home? In your family, do you seek His kingdom first? For you personally—if your priority for your own personal satisfaction were to be viewed on a screen for all to see, would it show that the first thing in your desires and choices is for your life to be filled to the brim with His kingdom values and actions?

I think we likely would all say we have some changes to make. We suffer from Multiple Priority Disorder. Just like Multiple Personality Disorder, this disorder produces a lack of connection in thoughts and actions. It throws our relationships, potential, and fulfillment into disarray. We get confused about our identity.

You and I must recover our identity as Jesus followers and let that identity direct every aspect of our lives. Our privilege and priority in all of life is seeking His kingdom as we love and live like Jesus, doing as He did and bringing the Good News to the world around us. There’s only one thing that can be first at a time, so this priority must be first all the time.

  • Spend some time today considering the truth of your life priority and how you can put HIS priority first, trusting Jesus to add “all these things.”