Be Third

“Seek first his Kingdom” I attended a conference yesterday and the topic of God’s Kingdom came up. The word Kingdom appears 162 times in the New Testament and twice in the Old Testament. The coming of Christ changes the emphasis from a chosen nation to the coming of God’s Kingdom and our place in it. Kingdom appears twice in the Lord’s prayer alone. We need to keep our focus on the Kingdom of God, while understanding our journey to get there. It was suggested that for us to be suitable for the Kingdom, we need to be always looking backwards and forwards. We need to understand our journey but focus on our future and how we should act here on Earth towards others and ourselves to come into God’s Kingdom.

Matthew 6:33” 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

We are not told to keep the Church first but instead the Kingdom! The Church is not the Kingdom. Without the Kingdom the Church has no purpose. With all of the focus on the Kingdom in the New Testament, you would think the church would emphasize it as well. However only one of the Creeds mentions the Kingdom.

The Nicene Creed: “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

How often to we put our church first and not God’s Kingdom? A question was asked: “Should we be inviting others to be disciples of the Kingdom rather than disciples of Christ?” I am curious to hear your thoughts here. We don’t build God’s Kingdom, we receive it. The Kingdom of God = Life = The Way. Our world is a mess when we reject the principles and the mindset of the Kingdom of God. God and his Kingdom is first, others including the church are second, and you’re third. Don’t just think about your own interests, be interested in others. Don’t think less of yourself, just think of yourself less and others more.

And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5: 5)

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2: 4)

And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. (John 13: 14, 15)

Ideas for Action: Ask God, “Whom can I serve today?” Look for an opportunity to be last … in line, the last to speak, or last to be served. Think about God’s Kingdom this week. Are you putting it first? How can we receive the Kingdom?