The beginning of this passage begins with the words, “he said to his disciples.” Thus it is implied that the message that followed was for those who were his closet followers and not specifically for the crowds who were mainly interested in following Jesus because of the miracles he performed, or the religious leaders who wanted to be there when Jesus did something wrong in their eyes.
As he tells his disciples, they were to strive first for the kingdom of God in their daily lives and trust that the Lord God would provide for whatever else was needed. This is a very challenging concept in our modern world that places a lot of emphasis on being overly concerned about one’s stock earnings, retirement nest egg, status in society, etc. Striving first for God’s kingdom before anything else is not for the faith of heart.
This is a lesson that I have had to learn over and over again in my life, and it continues to be a challenge for me. One of the first major times that I encountered this was when I was working full time in a steel mill and going to college part time. Twice during that time I was forced to sit out a quarter because my grade point average was too low compared to the number of hours I was taking. I kept thinking that I could do more than I was capable of and couldn’t pull up my grades fast enough, and thus was forced to sit out and think about what was going on.
I was able to get off probation for a number of reasons, but the major one was that I consciously tried to strive for God’s kingdom while taking my classes. I had to try to put God’s will and kingdom first in my life, versus anything else. This focus didn’t happen over night, but slowly my heart and mind tried to strive for God’s kingdom in my life on a daily basis and it impacted how I prepared for my class work, and how I saw my college experience. During your spiritual pilgrimage, may you recognize the importance of striving first for God’s kingdom on a daily basis, versus anything else that you may encounter on your earthly journey!
Prayer, Lord of life, please help me to focus on your kingdom and will in my life before anything else, and allow me to share this understanding with those whom I meet today! Amen. Vernon T.