“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Though this is the phrase that we are most familiar with, the verse is the conclusion of the passage, where Christ has preached on what people should be truly concerned about. In Matthew 6:25, He says not to worry about our lives. In verse 28, He says not to take thought of our clothing. In verses 31 and 34, He speaks of not worrying about food or about the future. These are things that the world frets over. In other words, they are central concerns on which economies, governments, societies, and even civilizations are based. The acquisition of goods, the security of peace, protection against the natural elements, and the guarantee of future existence are what drive people throughout history. These become central while the spiritual concerns become peripheral. In one sermon, Christ preaches of turning things upside down through an inVerse perspective!
Instead of “these things,” Jesus places the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness (another word for His character) as central. He teaches that “these things” cannot be the central aspect of life, because they can be stolen. Christ is making a value statement for His disciple followers. Though the Father knows we have need of them, if we focus on “these things,” they will be taken from us through rust, moths, and thieves. Another way of looking at this is that time will lessen their value (rust); if not time then other natural entities will destroy them (moths); and if not these entities, then human individuals and organizations may steal them (thieves).
Whether it is fame, beauty, wealth, strength, relationships, family, security, or anything else under the sun, Christ is saying that time, things, and thieves can ruin the value we place on them. They are still important in our lives, but Christ says they must be put into our peripheral vision, not left in central.
If we place “these things” as central, then multiple things will occur. First, we will expend unnecessary energy and resources to attain them, which Christ pastorally counsels us against. Second, once we do acquire these things, they will be vulnerable to loss. Third, they do not produce what the hopes of the heart expect them to.
If we place God first, then He Himself will add them to us. They will be secured in heaven (Matt. 6:20) where the rust, moths, and thieves cannot get them. And finally, placing God in our central vision deepens our relationship with Him, for as verse 32 says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”