It’s not what He said – it is what He didn’t say that reached out and grabbed me.
Jesus was preaching to a huge crowd, sitting on the side of a mountain.
He covers A LOT of territory in this “Sermon on the Mount” as we have named it. (Matthew 5-7)
But again, it wasn’t what He said.
It was what He didn’t say.
He starts off the section that grabbed me by talking about money and the heart.
The whole sermon is about the heart.
But in this particular section He is teaching about money.
He starts by cautioning against idolatry.
He says, “You can’t serve God and money. You must pick. One of them gets your full attention. The other one is a loser. You choose.”
He then goes on to address the automatic response of every idolater – our justification of why it is NOT idolatry at all.
We don’t have to say it – He knows our hearts. He knows we are thinking:
“Oh, Lord, I’m not serving money. I just NEED it to do everyday life! After all, I have eat and I need clothes. So no, it’s not an idol, Jesus. It is just very, very important. After all, I have to pay my bills and look after me, right? That’s called being responsible, right?”
But I love what Jesus does next.
He puts the responsibility squarely on GOD’S shoulders.
Sure – money is a tool.
And yes, it needs to be stewarded well.
But I am not my provider.
I am not my source.
And I am not even my own resource.
Jesus addresses this smokescreen that we all love to use.
“If I don’t look out for me, who will?”
“I have to be a good steward so I have to worry about these things.”
“God helps those who help themselves!”
Paraphrasing here, He says, “Look, folks, at how God provides for things that don’t last, things that aren’t eternal. He makes sure the birds eat and the flowers are glorious – and they are extremely temporary things! But you – YOU are eternal. Made in the image of God. His kid. He is your DAD. If your Dad takes care of the inconsequential things so well, how much more is He going to provide for you, His beloved child?”
And then He gives the formula for success, the way to deal with ALL idols, including money:
“Make God’s priorities your priorities and He will take care of the rest.”
Put everything in life through the filter of the Kingdom.
Does this promote the Kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of me?
Does this action (reaction, response, post, photograph, outfit, words, media choice, work ethic, relationship, career, e-mail, tone of voice, body language, etc.) promote God or promote me?
Do I care about the things God cares about?
Do I even know what He cares about or thinks about an issue?
Do I value His Word over anyone else’s?
Do I turn to Him in a crisis?
Or, better yet, do I turn to Him FIRST in a crisis? Or He is an add-on in my life? “Oh, this is a bad one! I better pray about it.”
If I am using that filter, the lens of Kingdom glasses to view every part of my world, then I am seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness.
And no, not in a legalistic way.
Of course, I mess up.
Of course, I put myself first at times.
Of course, I blow it.
But even that can be dealt with in a Kingdom-seeking way or a self-seeking way.
When I mess up, what do I do then?
Do I keep short accounts with God?
Am I sensitive to His prompting?
Do I humbly bow or loudly protest when the Spirit nudges me?
Because here’s the thing:
If I am really seeking first His Kingdom, looking at all of life through the lens of Kingdom glasses, I don’t have the time or energy to worry about the other stuff.
And that is good.
Because I love what He did NOT say.
He did not say, “Seek first the Kingdom. And then make a plan. Figure it out. Solve the problem. You got this!”
He did not say, “Seek first the Kingdom. But then be sure to name and claim what you want so I can act.”
He did not say, “Seek first the Kingdom. But then pace the floor, wondering how I will provide.”
He did not say, “Seek first the Kingdom and if I find that you meet qualifications, I will consider supplying your needs.”
He simply said, “Seek first the Kingdom. And then don’t worry. I’ve got this. Your life is hard enough without you trying to do my job.”
I know really, really well that all of this is easier said than done.
It is a battle.
But the battle is not to supply my own needs. Because I can’t.
The battle is to keep those Kingdom glasses firmly planted on my face.
The enemy wants my focus to be on everything else.
He wants me to say God is my provider but then act like I am.
He wants me to not pray but to worry instead.
He wants me to put my needs ahead of yours so that neither of us are blessed.
But “greater is He that is in me than he who is in the world.”
By His grace, those glasses can stay firmly planted.
By His grace, I can look at His face instead of the wind and waves.
By His grace, I can remember His character even when I cannot see His hand at work.
By His grace, I can let go of worry and relax under His care.
By His grace, I can “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”, knowing for sure that “all these things will be added unto me”.