Seek FIRST

God has had this verse on repeat for me since 2018 began: Matthew 6:33. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. (If this Psalty song immediately starts playing in your mind — please let me know so we can reminisce on a common childhood!! 🙂 )

I am sure that all of us have responsibilities and expectations and schedules and other needs that rest on our shoulders, especially as we face a new year. There is much that God has for us, paths that He intends us to walk in, plans that He’s already made for us. Our To Do lists are filling up (or maybe it’s just mine?), and it’s only the second week of the year!

Every new year that God gives me, I realize how much more I need HIM. I need Jesus more than I need a strategic plan, an organizational system, or answers to my questions. Before this particular verse in Matthew in the middle of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, our Savior speaks on not worrying about the greatest needs of our life, like food and clothing. What are the greatest needs of your life? Stop and consider that question. If I dig deep enough, I realize that I don’t just need physical provisions. I need God’s grace. I need the eyes of Jesus to see people the way He does and a heart of compassion to respond the way He would. I need His presence in my daily life. I need supernatural wisdom. I NEED JESUS. And, Jesus tells us in vs. 32 that He already knows what we need.

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So, seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness—in other words, make your life’s pursuit to KNOW Jesus. The word “seek” means specifically to worship, or to desire, endeavor, require. And “first” is an adverb to the seeking, meaning first in time, place, order or importance. Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus tells us before any other movement in our lives, we must worship Him first, desire Him most, endeavor after Him, require Him at the forefront, ahead of any other priority. And then, when we seek God first—His Kingdom and His righteousness—all the things we need most will be provided to us. God’s provision literally means to add, again, give more, increase, proceed further. God never goes half way, and His desire is to multiply His grace and joy in our lives and be our Almighty God.

HE is what we need, and when we seek Him first, HE will be more than enough.

Well-worn, Well-loved

Freddy

This is Freddy. He has seen better days. In fact, when Jackson brought Freddy to me with stuffing seeping out, I almost suggested it may be time for His crocodile to gracefully say goodbye.

Instead I found myself (easily) being talked into stitching him back up to love another day.

Freddy is special to Jackson. I found Freddy several years ago and knew he would be just the right gift for my boy on Valentine’s Day. Freddy reminds Jackson every day that I love him, with that message written across the heart Freddy carries.

Since coming to our family, Freddy has been through a lot living with the other stuffed animals on Jackson’s bed — smells, drool, sickness, being kicked, thrown, squeezed. And, it shows. The once soft fabric is now matted and worn. The stuffing is falling out. One of his eyes is a little wonky.

But, he is loved, just as you and I are by our Heavenly Father. Many of us can say we’ve been through it — we are worn. We’ve been kicked, misaligned, pulled in too many directions. Our faith has been stretched and pulled almost thread bare. We may look in the mirror and see people who have had better days.

Look closer. View yourself through God’s eyes. He sees each of us as someone precious to love another day. We are well-worn because we are well-loved. Yes, we have faced tremendous obstacles, hurt and frustration. We have stumbled and been stained. But, the matting and thread bare places also prove we have been held so tightly. Those stitches are reminders of God’s plan to make all things work together for good, and the scars are evidence of His faithfulness and healing.

We may think we’ve grown useless, but our Savior has never been more proud to have us by His side. We are worthy because He loves us. We are His.