“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness And all these things shall be added unto you, Allelu – alle-lu-ia.”
In my church, we often sing this little hymn as the doxology after our offering. The tune is beautiful and comforting to hear, simple to sing. The words stay with me through the week and I find myself humming the tune subconsciously while working or excercising. It comes from a hymn written in the 19th century, but the words are taken directly from scripture in Matthew 6:33.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
In this chapter of his gospel, Matthew writes of what it should look like to live a Christian life. He speaks of piety and humbleness, of charity and of the faithfulness of the Lord to provide to those who trust in Him. Then, in verse 25, he says “take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Does he mean to say here that Christians should trust that God will provide everything in life, that we should have no care at all for obtaining food, shelter, and clothing for ourselves and our families?
For a long time after becoming a Christian I wondered just how much I could trust God to handle. I wanted to be in control of my life, responsible, and hard-working. I kept hearing from other Christians that I should give up control to God, but I wondered just how much control I could really give up to God. In his gospel, Matthew tells me that I should give up all of it.
When I did hand it all to God, to my surprise and delight, I became more responsible and hard-working, more fulfilled and satisfied with my work, a better daughter, sister, and girlfriend, and a better friend. God’s work in us is paradoxical sometimes, but always amazing and good.
When I became a Christian (just a few years ago, in May of 2007), I did so on my knees, in tears, begging God to take the wheel because I wasn’t doing a very good job of guiding my life. He began immediately to transform my life – to transform me. Fortunately, I did not fight back when doors closed (I was turned down for a job that I felt certain I would get). I humbly walked through others that graciously opened for me. I returned to college, and prayed for God to guide me to where He needed me. At some point, I realized that putting God first in my life, before my own identity, before my own wishes, was the greatest gift I could give myself. I should let God control all of it.
Now, a few years later, I still work every day to listen for God’s will for my life and allow Him to direct me where He needs me. When Matthew says that “all these things” will be given to us when we seek God’s kingdom first, he is literally referring to our basic needs of sustainance. God, though, tells us in many ways that He wants us to flourish under His care. I have certainly found that to be true.
This blog, therefore, is my testimony to the benefits and great joy we receive when we turn all control of our lives over to God.