In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is recorded as saying, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33; NIV) But unfortunately, this quote by our Savior has often been misrepresented and twisted into something other than the original intent. In this article, we will dive deeper into this statement and explain these beautiful words of Jesus.
Reading the Bible in context
When reading the Bible and quoting Scriptures, it’s important to read everything in its proper context. If you read the verse above, you might wonder what Jesus meant when He said “and all these things will be given to you as well” if you didn’t read the passage in its proper context. Or you might wonder why the sentence starts with the word “but.”
So let’s go ahead and take a look at these verses from the Bible:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.Matthew 6:24-34; NIV
As you can see, in these verses, Jesus is talking about worrying about provision. Jesus reminds us to look to the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, for which God provides plentifully. He tells us not to worry because we have a heavenly Father who provides plentifully for us as well.
- God supplies you. You will not lack.
- ‘God, I can’t keep going’: God gives you green pastures and quiet waters
Don’t run after money. Let Jesus run after you
Are your thoughts consumed with money? This isn’t just for people who have money. It can also be people who don’t have money. When we look into the world, we see people running after money, fame and success. But even when they have the so-called earthly success, they still feel a void. Something missing. There is a desire in our hearts for something greater than the world can offer. A desire for an intimate relationship with Jesus.
So why run after money when it can’t satisfy? Why run after things that fade away?
Matthew 6:33 Explained
So back to our verse, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Notice how Jesus tells us to seek His righteousness, not our own? He didn’t say “Seek first your own righteousness” or “Work first to establish your own righteousness.” No, Jesus told us to seek His righteousness! When we become saved — when we accept the saving hand of Jesus — we no longer come before God with our own righteousness (through our works and deeds), we come before God with Christ’s righteousness.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:21; NIV
So are you seeking your own righteousness, or are you seeking His righteousness? When you make a mistake, do you beat yourself up, or do you go to God and thank Him that through Christ, you are the righteousness of God, despite your mistakes? When you come before God, do you come boldly — knowing that there is absolutely nothing separating you from your loving heavenly Father thanks to the gift of righteousness — or do you come fearing because you worry that He will point out your sins and mistakes?
When you focus on Jesus, your fears melt away. When you focus on Jesus, everything becomes clearer. When you focus on Jesus, supply will be there. When you focus on Jesus, lack fades away and is replaced with God’s abundant provision of everything you need and more. When you focus on Jesus, your heart is truly full.
What about the kingdom of God?
The Bible tells us that the kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit:
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 4:17; NIV)
So are we seeking peace and joy in the world? Or are we seeking peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is part of the trinity. He is God and He indwells believers. Too many people think they will only be happy if they get the new car, the new house, the spouse or whatever else they desire. And listen to me, those things are not bad. God wants us to be blessed with earthly blessings. But we need to remember that peace and joy are not found in a car or a house or even a spouse. Peace and joy are only found in God.
Are you worried about money or provision? Don’t fear. God wants to provide for you. Look at the birds that are cared for by your heavenly Father. Look at the beautiful flowers that are cared for by your heavenly Father. He will provide for you. But don’t run after money. Instead, focus on Jesus — your righteousness, your joy, your peace. And all these blessings will effortlessly flow into your life more and more.