Matthew 6: Kingdom Priorities

If the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ manifesto about this new kingdom he is bringing, what is truly important in this new way of seeing life?  Jesus answers that question with as many explanations of what is not important as he does the affirmative.

The praise of your fellow man is not top priority.  Do your religious acts like tithing, prayer and fasting but if you are doing those to get praise from your neighbors and friends you have missed the point.  That momentary praise is all you will get.  Kingdom-people seek the praise of the Father who sees what is done without fan-fare or the spotlight (6:1-18).

The treasures of this earth are not top priority.  Nice clothes get moth-eaten.  Piles of coins get rusty.  Houses fall apart.  Cars get dented.  Jewelry gets stolen.  Investment portfolios crash.  Educational degrees become out-of-date.  Power and status are lost.  Beauty fades.  All these treasures broadcast to the world what is truly valuable to us, and this may not be complimentary.  Kingdom-people store up treasures in heaven.  These will never fade away, lose value or be lost.  And don’t tell yourself you can actually have them both; you can’t (6:19-24).

The needs of this world are not top priority either.  Food, drink and clothing might be at the top of Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” and we do need these, but we don’t get them by seeking after them.  God knows what we need and he will provide.  The worry that comes from a preoccupation with these physical needs will only detract from our occupation of advancing the Kingdom.  Kingdom people focus with faith on the needs of the world to come (6:25-34).

So don’t worry away with your “What’ll we eat?” and “What’ll we drink?” and “What’ll we wear?”  Those are all the kinds of things the Gentiles fuss about, and your heavenly father knows you need them all.  Instead, make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life, and all these things will be given to you as well. (6:31-33)

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8 thoughts on “Matthew 6: Kingdom Priorities

  1. Eddy Efaw

    “our occupation of advancing the Kingdom” : I love this phrase. I think we often see church as more of Sunday hobby.

    “When you practice your piety, mind you don’t to it with an eye on the audience.” 6:1 KNT This line caught my heart. I like this translation.

  2. Glenda Kiser

    I am randomly selecting a few verses from Mt. 6:30-33 in The Message:
    “…don’t be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now…”

    The phrase – “don’t worry about missing out” – sticks out to me. I think it describes society. People feel the need to “keep up”. …and maybe not only materially. I can remember a time when I was choosing a spiritual path that made me look a little different that others. I had someone very close to me who, in loving concern, felt I was “missing out” because I wasn’t in the mainstream of the everyday Christianity that was going on around me. I wasn’t lost or being led astray, I was just a little weary of the status quo and it made me look a little different. I think anytime we strive to get closer to God and make sacrifices to do so, satan is going to whisper, “….but aren’t you missing out?”……

    • Thank you, Glenda, for sharing that example. Sounds like an interesting story. Love to know the details some time. You have hit a deep, new way to think of “missing out.”

  3. Its all about him
    The Lord bless you my friend

  4. Pingback: new myth, old god (and the origin of heaven and hell on earth) « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

  5. Eddy

    I’m loving the way Peterson in The Message is able to make the Sermon on the Mount sound new to my ears. Just some small “updates” in word choices are making this sermon come alive. I’m sure the Holy Spirit is playing a huge part in that too! : ) Here’s an example of what sounded fresh to my heart today as I read:

    Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭7-13‬ MSG)

  6. Today I am struck by how much of this passage Jesus devotes to money. So much of his teaching was about money. It seems this is the perpetual rival to God. It is certainly true today, and it seems clear it was true back in Jesus’ time. Money is a big theme in Proverbs from a 1000 years earlier. I like this line in summary: “What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.”

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