First Things First

 In Preaching & Teaching

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”      ~ Matthew 6:31-33

Many years ago – at my last appointment, I lived through a teaching on verse 33 of the passage above; “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  God had provided a way for my husband and I to take a wonderful two-week winter vacation to Florida.  We were in no hurry to be anywhere, so we took three days to get to Florida and three days to get back.  I was doing a study for my personal devotions and had been meditating on Matthrew 6:33 for a few days.  At first reading of those three verses, we see a message about worry.  We often use this passage to stress how destructive worry can be.  But on this particular trip I was mediating on just verse 33. The focus wasn’t on worry of the things we need – food, water, clothing.  Rather, the focus was on how we – how I ordered my priorities, what I sought after, what was the most important. 

After resting in Florida for a couple of days we had the opportunity to be on a boat in the Gulf Coast going around Sanibel Island. I thought it would be really cool to see a dolphin jump out of the water in the wild. So, I asked the Lord to provide one….and nothing happened. I waited and waited, still nothing.  And then the unthinkable happened. I started to fuss at the Lord for not accomplishing this simple task of asking a dolphin to jump out of the water – a very small thing for such a mighty God to do, right?  Of course, it was a small thing. God can command the animals to talk using human language (Numbers 22:28), something that’s not natural for them to do.  Surely to command one to do something that is natural was easy.  Certainly, jumping out of the water is natural for a dolphin.

However, my attitude was not in line with the verse I had been meditating on for the past three days.  There I was on a boat in the Gulf Coast in February complaining and fussing at God.  Sometimes He has the ability to strike at the core of our hearts for the sinful foolishness we dive head long into. Deeply convicted of my selfish, sin I sat down in the back of the boat and repented for fussing at Him. And then I started giving thanks for all that He was doing in our lives.  He had taken us on this wonderful trip, blessed us with wonderful weather, safe travels, we got to see new things on the way down, had good food to eat, slept well, and most importantly for me, I got some deep rest that I needed.  As I sat in the back giving thanks, I started to worship Him. We serve a mighty God who loves us deeply and wants to take care of us, He wants to meet every need we have. And so, my worship continued.  I am not sure how long I worshiped Him, but my fussing turned into thanksgiving. 

Suddenly Roland yelled; “Look dolphins!”  Not one or two but many jumping and playing. At that point, I wasn’t satisfied that the Lord had done what I asked;  I was humbled that in spite of my sinful attitude and demanding, He accepted my repentance and having placed Him first He blessed us with dolphins the rest of the trip.  As we wound our way back to the canals heading to the place we were staying, the dolphins were so close, if the boat had stopped, I would have been able to touch one. 

I would like to say that was the last time I fussed at the Lord. Sadly, it hasn’t been.  But at least now I recognize the importance of ordering my world in such a way that my priority in life is God and living in His kingdom, where He rules and determines life. Now if that recognition would only become the standard by which I successfully live at all times!  I still have some growing to go in this area, but the Lord is faithful and patient and continues to correct me when I get off course. So, my goal remains:  Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and let Him direct everything else in my life. 

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