I was listening to a preacher who condemned as faithless those who did not believe that God has guaranteed us perfect health and the best of things. We can expect that God wants us to be the head not the tail and therefore we can expect the best car on the block. If God is truly a good God, doesn’t God want to give us good things?
The preacher gave two texts to support this theology. We will look at both in this short series. The first of these is Matthew 6:33 that you have heard before.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
The first thing that we must do when looking at this text is note what it says and what it does not say. First of all it tells us to “seek first God’s kingdom.” This initially tells me that if I am thinking about getting the best car and the biggest house that my mindset is not in line with this scripture. No a mindset of consumerism is in direct conflict with this text. Jesus is telling them to seek first God’s kingdom.
In fact, Jesus is speaking against this mindset when he began this passage. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says that we cannot serve God and money. He then immediately begins this passage in Matthew 6:25 with the word “therefore” which means that he is using this thought that culminates in “all these things shall be added to you” to help to attack in us the mindset of materialism that many of us seem to be infected with in Western Christianity.
The next thing that hits me about this text is that it says “these things shall be added to you.” What are “these things?” Is it a new car? Is it a new job?” What is Jesus talking about? so we need to go look at what are the “these things” that Jesus said would be added unto us.
Well the good thing is that we can go to the scripture itself. Let us look at the whole passage. Matthew 6:25 begins with Jesus telling his hearer “do not worry about the body…what you shall eat or drink…or your body…what you will wear.” So Jesus is telling the hearer that because you are not serving money (Matthew 6:24) you should not worry about what you are going to eat or drink or wear.
The first thing that should hit us is that Jesus is not talking about “wants.” No Jesus is talking about needs. We need to eat, drink, and clothe our body.
Then Jesus tells us that the Birds of the air eat, but they don’t’ sow, reap, or harvest (Matthew 6:26). Jesus then tells the hearer that the lilies are clothed even better than Solomon (Matthew 6:28).
Then we get to the conclusion. Jesus says to not say “what shall I eat…drink…or wear” That is what the “pagans” ask. (Matthew 6:31-32) No seek first God’s kingdom and all “these things” shall be added to you. what things? Food, drink, or clothing. These are necessities, these are not luxuries. Jesus is not talking about being the best dressed on the block with this text. No the “all these things” does not include your new job. no it does not include your new house. No it does not include your new car. It includes food, drink, and clothing.
One might be able to expand the thought to include other necessities, but it is not talking about the luxuries that many of us are attempting to make it say. No this text does not teach that if you have enough faith God will give you everything you want. No it does not mean that if I have enough faith I will not lose my job. No it does not teach that.
But it teaches that God cares about our necessities. Now this still brings the question, what about those of us who do not have these necessities. I still wrestle with that idea as I noted before.
But on the face of it, the text don’t say what some are trying to make it say. It is a promise of Jesus that you will have food, drink, and clothing. It is not a promise that you will get the “hook up” more than that. As always I encourage you to just read the text…
One of my seminary professors preached a powerful sermon. In it he argued that the greatest temptation for most of us is not to do that which is wrong. Many of us have that temptation, but it is not the greatest one. The greatest temptation is to do that which is “good” rather than that which is “great.”
Here the temptation is to attempt to accomplish good things rather than accomplishing your God given purpose which for you would be great.
We all have been called to a particular work by the Most High God. Like Jeremiah, God knew us before we were born and apointed us for a particular work. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Now this work is not always easy. It may not be the work where you will make the most money. It may not be the work where you will gain the most noteriety. It may not be the work that grandma, momma, and daddy want you to do.
Now you may have a natural ability for this work, but remember we are not talking about being “good” at his work, we are talking about doing a God-given “great” work. It will not be easy to move from Good to Great. This requires more ability than you have. In addition, it requires more power and endurance than you have. In short, your God given task is something that requires your faith so that you can grasp ahold of the one who is mighty and desires above all things to bless us. We will literally not be able to see where God is taking us unless we look by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
You will be tempted to only do that which you could have done without the Spirit of God empowering you. But God has enough of the “good,” God needs someone willing to follow God into “greatness.” Some Christians use their own power and end up coming short of where God wants to take them.
God needs someone to speak to Pharoah to let my people go (Exodus 5:1), but many would instead speak to their freinds and collegues abouth how they wish they could go. God has placed in someone’s heart to start agencies to feed thousands when there are not enough funds to accomplish this, but instead they settle for giving a dollar to the man on the side of the street. If you can see it, if you can understand if fully, if you totally know the way, then you might be settling for “good” rather than pushing to “great.”
Good may get you accolades, good may cause someone to pat you on the back, but great will unsettle the “present evil world.” (Galatians 1:4) Great will throw the evil one’s kingdom off its foundation (Acts 17:6). “Great” will do what “good” can’t even attempt.
Stop settling for good, God has called you to great. Be like Abraham. God found him in a good situation. He was comfortable living in the land of his parents in Ur. (Genesis 12:1) But God had other plans for Abraham, and God has other plans for you. God called him to go to a land that Abraham didn’t know of, the promised land. IN leaving, Abraham was making that long trek from “good” to “great.
God has called you to greatness, stop settling for good.