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Seek God’s kingdom now

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:31-33 1

Keith Leach

Jesus speaks these words to the crowds as a part of his “Sermon on the Mount.” This entire sermon is very countercultural, but these words are the most contrary to how we as humans acted then and act still today.

In the 19th century, Oswald Chambers wrote, “In our religion it is customary to put God first, but we are apt to think it is impertinence to put God first in the practical issues of our lives. If we imagine we have to put on our Sunday moods before we come near to God, we will never come near to God.”

It seems throughout the ages it has been difficult for the people of God to bring themselves to commit to living in the kingdom of God in the here and now.

I believe this is the core of the good news, the gospel that we often pass by.

We speak of Jesus’ gift of his life, but not the living with God continually, which made that gift possible. We think of God’s kingdom as something that we will be a part of when we die. We think our relationship with God is transactional. We do good things, and God rewards us by letting us go to heaven.

In fact, Jesus is telling us that our relationship with God is symbiotic. We must continually dwell with God so that we will always be working within God’s will, even when following God’s path seems odd, or even unreasonable.

God’s way does not always jive with “common sense.” 

As a nation, we have just celebrated the 245th anniversary of our country, and celebrate we should. God has given us a great place to live.

However, as Christians, we are called to live into God’s kingdom now, not just emigrate when we die.

Jesus brought the kingdom here so that we could begin to dwell with God now. Let us strive to live in it, now.

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at kleach@hsc.edu.