“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.” – Matthew 6:33
Great, great verse to memorize here but please don’t take it out of context. So very important to understand the context of Jesus’ words here. Explained a bit more below….
This is one of the key verses in all of Jesus’ teaching, commonly used in quotes, artwork, and Bible memorization. Like any other lesson from Christ, it must be understood in the context of the verses that come before it. Too often, Jesus’ words here have been ripped out of that context and used to suggest that God will supply endless material blessings if His children seek Him first. That is not, at all, the meaning of this sentence.
The context of “these things” are the basic needs of life: food and clothing. Jesus has commanded His readers not to live in continually worry about how they will obtain those, even if they don’t know where the next meal is coming from. He wants them to trust the heavenly Father to provide what is needed for His children because He values them so greatly (Matthew 6:25–32). Instead of living in constant and fruitless worry, Jesus gives His followers a different outlet for their energy: pursue God’s kingdom, trust His righteousness, and leave it to Him to take care of the basic needs of our lives.
The call to “seek first” God’s kingdom and righteousness connects to the other teachings Jesus has given in this Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1–2, 5–6, 16–17). Motives matter, and only by sincerely putting God first can we pursue righteousness. Followers of Christ should prioritize living according to the principles He has been teaching (Matthew 6:24; John 14:15). Jesus’ earliest message was the same as that of John the Baptist, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
To seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness means to live in that ongoing repentance from sin, and to lead the kind of sincere, from-the-heart, devoted-to-God lifestyles Jesus has been describing. In response, God will make provision for whatever it is we truly “need” in order to accomplish His will.
Today. Seek Him earnestly. Seek Him sincerely.
Father, give us the courage and strength to seek You today.