Saturday, January 25, 2014

What does "Seek first the Kingdom of God" mean?

From Monday to Friday, what does God's Kingdom mean?
Following a service in which a pastor preached on "the family", a woman asked, "That last bit - about seeking first the Kingdom of God, what does that mean in daily life?"

Perhaps it's easy to speak about the "Kingdom of God", yet making it come alive, day after day, month after month,  for my spouse, for my kids - is that easy? And that part about "all these other things (food, clothes, money, relationships) will those really be "added" in? Isn't that a bit counter-cultural?

The pastor was temped to give a quick answer: "Be more faithful in coming to the church, to the youth fellowship for your girls, to the weekend event for your boys and to the mid-week service. Be faithful in giving to the church, the tithe, remember?"

However, he stopped. No, those are activities, not necessarily the "Kingdom". What's the difference?

Going home, he thought about it some more. "What did Jesus do to put 'The Kingdom' first? Of course, he didn't have three boys, like I do, who have hockey practice! And hockey practice on Sunday morning is their best "ice time". When hockey is over, its soccer and baseball... Does putting God's kingdom first mean God will pay for the ever-increasing cost of hockey equipment?

"Ah, Jesus did have time for people. But, constant interruptions - like Jesus walking along to raise a little girl from the dead, and then.... No, I hate being interrupted when I have to get another sermon ready, and this series on husbands loving their wives is challenging. After all, I just don't have enough time for my sweetheart. She's been telling me about that lately...think I'd better listen to her...but all these committee meetings I have to go to!

"Yes, Jesus showed us the kingdom, which let to rebuking others at times. Got after his followers for lack of faith. Hmm, I wonder how long I'd be pastor here if I questioned a few in the congregation - for gossiping, - or for doubting that we can help children of AIDS mothers in South Africa and still make our budget, or for that other guy's clever scheme to wiggle out of paying taxes.

"So, after she left the church building, she hears this all week long  - from the world: 'Follow the culture of our city! Make lots of money! Be secure for your retirement! Make sure the kids - each of them - have the latest technology and phones! Never take a break on Saturday or Sunday - there's too much to DO!' I'm exhausted just thinking how many ads she hears or sees during a week.

(I'll continue this topic... but in the meantime, what do you as a reader say to the question posed by the thoughtful woman at the end of the service. "That last bit - about seeking first the Kingdom of God, what does that mean in my daily life?")

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