“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
This verse ends with Jesus saying that all “these things” will be added to us. What are the “these things” He is talking about? Matthew 6:33 is part of a larger context that deals with not worrying. This section goes from verses 25-34. We aren’t going to go back and look at all of it, but I do want us to look quickly at the basic thought of the passage so that we can understand what Jesus was talking about when He said that “these things” would be added to us.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25 (NKJV)
Food, drink and clothing make up the basic necessities of life. Jesus isn’t telling us here not to prepare for life. He isn’t encouraging us to be lazy and thoughtless about the necessities of life. When you read the Bible the value of working to provide our way and planning for the future are clearly seen. Instead, what Jesus is talking about is not to be so preoccupied by gaining the material possessions of life that we fall into the trap of focusing our lives and devoting ourselves to acquiring these things. Jesus is telling us not to be so wrapped up in securing these things that we become anxious, disturbed and sleepless about them. Jesus is telling us not to be so consumed with getting that we take little or no thought about Him and His will for our lives. Jesus is telling us not to become so entangled with the affairs of this life that we forget the life to come.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32 (NKJV)
Jesus repeats that we are not to worry about these things and this time gives us two reasons why we aren’t to worry about them. The first is that we are to live differently than those who don’t know Jesus. Those who don’t know Jesus and aren’t a part of the Kingdom of God really have nothing greater than the things of this life to focus their lives and devotion on. Christians on the other hand have experienced the love of their great Heavenly Father and have been redeemed by their great Savior. Since our Heavenly Father is greater than anything this world has to offer He naturally becomes the focus of lives and the object of our devotion.
The second reason is that our Heavenly Father already knows all about the needs we have. I love that it says that our Heavenly Father knows we need these things. Jesus doesn’t have an unrealistic expectation for our lives that says we don’t need the basic necessities of life. He knows that there are things in life that we genuinely need. Since He knows this, we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and then trust that Jesus will provide for us.
There seems to be an unfortunate and irrational fear that is held by many Christians in our time. The fear is that if we seek Jesus’ rule in our lives, then Jesus will make us become homeless people who die starving and naked. Now we probably wouldn’t say it in those words, but that certainly seems to be the attitude we have many times. It is a fear that living for Jesus in the way the Bible describes will cause me to live a deprived life. It will be a joyless, penniless, possessionless existence. Doesn’t that sound just like the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give us (John 10:10)?
I think that part of the problem here is that we tend to look at the world as Americans and not as Christians. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down on America. I’m not one of those people that think all the problems of the world are because of American. But let’s be honest, Americans view the world very differently than most of the world does. Americans are prosperous. Americans are pampered. Americans like our possessions. These things tend to cause us to view the world, especially success and blessing, in light of financial prosperity, personal comfort and cool stuff.
Jesus doesn’t promise to give us all the money, comfort and stuff that this world has to offer. He promises to give us what He knows we need. Therein lies the rub, because what Jesus knows we need and what we think we need aren’t always the same thing. The promise Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:33 is that when we seek His rule in our lives He will make sure all the things we truly need are added to our lives. This doesn’t mean if we seek Jesus’ rule in our lives we are all going to drive Lincoln Navigators and live in mansions. But it does mean that we will have what we truly need in our lives and that we will recognize that what Jesus has given us is greater than anything this world has to offer. When we seek Jesus’ rule in our lives we can live confidently because we know that He cares for us, knows what we need and has promised to provide for us.