by Keith Sharp
Billy was 6 years old. It was springtime close to summer vacation. When school was out, he and his mom, a widow who was remarrying, were moving. He came home from school and informed his mom he wouldn’t be going back to baseball. When she asked why, he replied, “The rest of our games are on Wednesday night, and we’ll be in church.” She hadn’t said a word to him about it. She didn’t have to. How would that compare to our family practices?
In Matthew 6:19-34 Jesus contrasts the righteousness of the kingdom with the materialism of the Gentiles. Matthew 6:33 summarizes this contrast. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” What should be our chief goal in life?
The kingdom of God of Old Testament promise and prophecy is the rule of God in the hearts of His people.
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, â€˜The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you’” (Luke 17:20-21).
The kingdom of Christ is the church of Christ in that the people in whose hearts the Lord rules are those who compose His church. The terms “kingdom” and “church” are used interchangeably at least twice in the New Testament (Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:22-23, 28).
If we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” we put kingdom blessings and kingdom relationships at the absolute top of our priorities.
The context of this summary statement contrasts concern over material wealth with the spiritual blessings and relationships of the kingdom (Matthew 6:19-34). If I have a job that involves sinful activities or prevents me from serving the Lord, including assembling to worship with his people, I need to find a different job.
This also applies to family and friends. The Lord and His kingdom even come ahead of the family (Matthew 10:34-38). If a family comes to visit, and it’s time for worship, invite them to come with you. If they won’t come, ask them to stay until you return.
It certainly applies to recreation. Are we “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”? (II Timothy 3:4) If we miss worship or Bible classes for sports, what does that tell us? Do we have time to go fishing but can’t find time to talk to a neighbor about the Bible? If we put kids’ sports ahead of the gospel meeting, what are we teaching our children? (Ephesians 6:4)
Brother J.D. Tant was a famous preacher three or four generations ago. He used to close his articles in Gospel Advocate magazine by warning, “Brethren, we’re drifting.” It didn’t make him popular, but he was right. Are we drifting?