Beliefnet
Jesus Creed

A favorite text for man is Matthew 6:33 (Q par. at Luke 12:31). Here it is in context: 25 ?Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 ?And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ?What shall we eat?? or ?What shall we drink?? or ?What shall we wear?? 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
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What can we learn here?
1. Seeking the kingdom puts one in a position to participate in God’s blessing of provision. How does God provide? Since manna doesn’t appear to be the norm, one would have to say that the provision of God looks more often like Matt 10:9-13 than anything else. Namely, the provision is made through the gracious giving of kingdom people.
2. Is the kingdom present or future? Hard to tell; one might say that seeking it ushers one into or one could say, and this seems more likely to me, one orients herself or himself toward the kingdom and, by orienting oneself toward that kingdom, one finds oneself in company with others of the same hopeful orientation.
3. Those who seek the kingdom like this are not like the Gentiles; and Gentile here is defined stereotypically as those who live for materiality, pleasure, and things.
4. Kingdom is here intimately tied to “righteousness” and this word means “the behaviors God expects of Eikons and his people.” So, yes, “justice” is a good translation, but so is “righteousness.” What is behind both is a King who clarifies his will through Jesus (Matt 5:17-48 is the pristine example). So, to seek righteousness is to do what Jesus teaches. Justice — I say this all the time — is not defined by the US Constitution or the Enlightenment sense of rights and duties but by God’s will as taught by Jesus.
It seems to me that kingdom here is the future kingdom, the kingdom where God will reign through Christ over the kingdom society in which God’s will is established.

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