This is another of Jesus’ familiar passages. It is easy to say, but so difficult to live. What does it mean to not worry? What does “seeking first” His kingdom REALLY look like in our lives? I mean, how could a person who lives in the United States, in our day and age, not be deeply concerned with making a living, paying the bills, putting food on the table, and simply making ends meet?
Here is some hard, cold truth. 95% of the things we “need” in our life are things that have been imposed upon us by our cultural standards. We don’t really need a house where everyone gets their own room. We don’t really need a television, oven, microwave, or phone in every room. We don’t really need a car. We don’t really need a new set of clothes for every day of the week. We think we need them because society would say we were substandard if we didn’t have them. But, really, what do we need? We need food. We need water. We need a loving community. We need basic shelter from the elements. Anything beyond that is gravy, luxury, and an over-and-above privilege that we do not deserve. God promised that He would provide for our needs. Beyond that, we are on our own. In many cases, the most loving thing God could do to us would be to strip away the stuff that so clouds our vision.
That doesn’t really answer the question of what does it look like to not worry about stuff, or what does it look like to seek His kingdom. Perhaps this will help. Ask yourself this question, “Why do you work?” If your answer is because you are being obedient to the things God has asked you to do and are serving Him based upon your giftedness, leaving the financial compensation up to Him,” then you may be heading in the right direction. If your answer is, “I work so that I can pay the bills.” Then there may need to be some adjustments. Most Americans have become trapped into creating an artificial “standard of living” that they feel they are entitled to have and then spend the majority of their time and energy working to pay the bills. They work so hard they can’t even enjoy the things they are working so hard to support.
If you find yourself in this camp, perhaps you are not able to seek first God’s Kingdom because the stuff of this kingdom is crowding His kingdom out. Perhaps it is time to clean house, downsize, reevaluate what the purpose of existence is, and start asking God what His plan is for your life, rather than asking God to bless your plan for your life.