The Real Gift That Keeps On Giving!December 25, 2017
…Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
— Matthew 6:33
Those were the first words we heard on Christmas Day when we were children. We were awakened when Dad would turn on the floodlights attached to his Kodak camera, and all three Renner kids would crawl out of bed in our pajamas, rubbing our eyes in the bright lights that were glaring down on us as Dad filmed practically every movement of the Christmas morning for us.
Today we still have those films that Dad took of all three of us as we scampered from our beds into the living room to begin the process of opening gifts. Those films are now decades old, and I am thankful for the thoughtfulness of my father to film those precious memories, which otherwise would have been completely lost. Now that they’ve been transferred to a digital format, we can enjoy them for years to come. Dad is in Heaven, but these are his treasures that he left for the rest of us to watch and enjoy.
Every so often, we watch those films and remember our childhood Christmases and the gifts that Daddy and Mother gave us. The greatest gift my parents ever gave me on Christmas was a study Bible — a very nice, leather-lined study Bible. I was so proud of it! They hit it right on the target when they gave me that Bible, as my heart was aflame to know more about God’s Word at that time in my life. I still have that Bible today. Dad wrote his favorite Bible verse right in the front of the inside cover. There, in Dad’s handwriting, it says, “…Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Dad would quote this verse to us kids all the time. He wrote it in birthday cards, in letters that he occasionally wrote to us when we were at the university — and, of course, in the front covers of every Bible he ever gave to each of us. He really believed this verse, and he wanted to embed it in our souls.
Dad quoted Matthew 6:33 so often, and wrote it to us so many times, that one day I decided to pick up my Greek New Testament and look at the word “seek” to see what it means. It is the present imperative active form of the Greek word zeteo, and it depicts a constant attitude to actively and constantly seek for a thing.
Furthermore, zeteo is a command. Jesus was literally commanding us to actively and constantly be seeking after the Kingdom of God. Jesus promised that if we did, everything else we needed in life would be supplied to us. No wonder Dad wanted to get that verse into our hearts! He knew that if we got this right, everything else would be okay in our lives.
So I want to ask you: Are you obeying Jesus’ command to habitually, constantly seek the Kingdom of God? Are you on-again, off-again in your spiritual passion, or would Jesus say you are consistent in your seeking of Him and His Kingdom? All those other things you need to be supplied for life will come if you’ll place Jesus first and never stop seeking the purposes of His Kingdom. Jesus truly is the Gift that keeps on giving!
This is Jesus’ promise to you — and these are my words of encouragement to you on this Christmas Day!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I don’t want to be on-again, off-again in my pursuit of You. But as You command, I want to be habitual and constant in the way I seek You and Your Kingdom. There are many other things I need in life, but You promised that if I seek Your Kingdom first, all these other things will eventually be added unto me. So today I ask You to help me focus on the Kingdom of God and to keep my focus there for as long as I live on this earth!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that nothing in the world is more important to me than seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. God’s Word promises that if I’ll remain focused and constant in seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness first, before anything else, He’ll make sure every other need is met in my life. So I confess by faith that starting today — and for every day following this new commitment — I am going to make God’s Word, His Kingdom, and His righteousness the chief priority in my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- What do you do on a practical basis to seek the Kingdom of God above everything else in your life? For example, do you start your day out by reading the Bible and praying? That might be a good way for you to start this important commitment if you’re not already doing it.
- I start my day with a cup of coffee and my Bible in a secluded part of our house, where I read the Word as the highest priority of my day. I suggest that you consider doing this. Would you be willing to give this schedule a try?
- Do you have any other ideas about how you can make the Kingdom of God and His righteousness the first priority in your life? Why don’t you think it over and see what the Lord shows you that would work best?