St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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Scripture: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

This email is Pastor Carlson’s daily devotion (resumes in September), emailed to subscribers of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website. Unsubscribe options are below.

In the sermon, this passage serves as the focal point. It teaches us how we are to obtain the eternal and divine gift of God, and what we need for this earthly life. If you wish to understand what it is to be Christian, to live rightly, and to find joy and peace in this life, then it starts first with you striving to live according to God’s Word – the first duty of every Christian – to serve Him in His kingdom as His Word teaches you, and that His Word (the whole of Scripture) should be prized above all in this earthly life.

But is this how we hold the Word of God? As is nature, we tend to be more concerned about our food and our attire, our immediate needs and our reputations than we do the Word of our Lord. How often do we neglect the Word for the sake of food or earthly comforts? Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness — desiring to serve God in His kingdom by being obedient to His Word and loving the neighbor as Christ has loved us — is often an afterthought to what we conceive as more pressing matters.

Yet none of our striving or yearning for earthly prizes will ultimately lead to anything. Thus, we must learn to seek God’s kingdom and Word above all else for all other things (security, comfort, food, clothing, etc.) will be taken care of.

And yes, the Lord loves that we ask for great things from Him, and He is pleased to give them! Thus, why do we ask so little of Him? Do we believe Him burdened by our needs or too busy to tend to our great requests that we merely ask for pebbles instead of mountains? Or do we instead bargain with God, thinking He to be the great “Let’s Make a Deal” host?

God will gladly and generously help those who seek Him, who call upon His name and who boldly ask. But He will also discipline His children and in love teach us to stop seeking after the things of the world or concerning ourselves with worldly affairs at the expense of His kingdom and His Word. So, ask, seek, and knock, and do not be frightened of His answer! It will always be for the good of His children and the building of His kingdom.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in boldness do I ask that You continue to provide for me all my needs of body and soul, that You make me strong in faith, bold in confession, and wise to Your Word, and that you attend to all my needs abundantly and generously. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN