“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Many of us saw it happen and others of us heard about it as parents and grandparents shared their Christmas holiday stories with us. It is the cutest thing to watch, little children disregarding their gifts and playing with the boxes in which they came. For a moment we smile as we watch them play then we ask ourselves if all the money we spent purchasing those toys was a good idea. Perhaps we should have just given them boxes. I wonder if that’s what God thinks when he looks at the way we live our lives.
In the “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus talks about the things that capture our attention and distracts us from the gift that God has given to us. He talks about how we consume ourselves with worry about providing food, drink and clothing for ourselves and families. Our worry and busyness is contrasted with the carefree experience of the birds that he feeds and the flowers that he clothes in splendor unmatched by the high fashion designers of our day. As God watches us get caught up with the concerns of life, I wonder if he thinks we are just playing with the box and disregarding the gift.
How much of the wonder of life do we miss because we are so focused on getting what we need for ourselves? As we begin the New Year let us examine our priorities and ask ourselves, what is really important? Isn’t life more than food, drink and clothing? Isn’t it more than worrying about things that we have no control over? Life is about service to our fellow human beings and placing relationships over things. Life is about doing the right thing even if it costs you. Life is about living our mission and making a difference for someone who needs our help. Life is about fostering trust, building community and inspiring hope. When we live like this we don’t have to worry about getting the things that we need because God will supply our needs.
Zig Zigler lived by the philosophy that if he helped enough people to get what they wanted he would get what he wanted. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah said that our life should be about breaking the shackles of oppression, lifting the burden of the weak, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. When we live like this we will experience God’s blessing and our “light will break forth like the dawn”.
Be a blessing.
Mark A. Stoddart, M.Div.
Administrative Director for Spiritual Wellness
Shawnee Mission Medical Center