When a new Christian, God impressed a few basic truths into my heart. One was that He would use all things to shape me into the image of Christ. This made acceptance of all things much easier. Life’s circumstances have a larger purpose and when I embraced that purpose, God shows me ways to behave and respond that I would never imagine or realize apart from His promise. Without it, I would have fought the negatives much more than I have.
The second truth is that if I put my focus on His will first, over all other concerns, He would take care of my needs. This promise was made early in the ministry of Christ.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31–34)
Money and stuff can so easily become the focus of life. As I downsize and de-clutter, I think of one friend who told me that many of her Christian friends seem only concerned that their towels match.
Not only that, “God wants you rich” has become the topic of many books and sermons. Our tendency toward preoccupation with this life and the comforts of this life have rapidly replaced that “new-Christian desire” to witness to our family and friends and see that the whole world loves our Savior as much as we do.
But these verses say that we ought to have only one care. In the Christian life, putting first things first means my focus should always be on two things: the kingdom, building it, taking care of it, praying for those who are in it and those who are not, and the righteousness of Christ. When I have one eye on being like Jesus and the other on bringing others to the same priority, then God promises to take care of everything else.
The everything else is more than food, drink and matching towels. He supplies all I need for both worlds. In His kingdom work, I need answers, grace, character, words to say and write, and many other blessings in order to seek His will and His ways, never mind be wholly preoccupied with carrying them out.
As for this world, His supply of food and drink has never been an issue; He has taken care of all those needs and then some. But He also supplies friends and family, companionship in the good and rough times, big things and little details, like helping me find the best buy in furniture or directing someone to my door when I need to sell something. He tells me what to do and when to do it, even gives me ideas for everything from what to make for supper to which store to shop in. He never fails me. However, lest I forget that in my rejoicing over such assurance and care, He also reminds me that I am to fulfill my part to claim this awesome promise.
Seeking His kingdom and righteousness is not always easy. He may lead me to difficult chores, emotionally charged situations, even sacrifices for those who never express appreciation. Yet in all the tests of life, when I keep my focus (and often even when I falter) God never fails to keep His promises.
Lord, Your grace is overwhelming. You know exactly how to encourage me in the challenges of life and how to bring good out of awful and blessing out of trials and even tragedy. Through thick and thin, You are utterly faithful. Praises to Your name!