Seek Ye First…
In the 1980s, during my missionary service in Paraguay, two of my favorite scriptures were quoted in the Missionary Handbook, a little white booklet that we often referred to as the White Bible. I carried that booklet everywhere in my shirt pocket right underneath my name tag. I read it weekly, usually on Mondays. It helped me stay grounded and focused on the work I had traveled so far from home to do. Family life is at the very center of gospel living, but in the service assigned to missionaries, and as recorded in the New Testament, the service given by those early apostles sent of the Lord two by two, it is essential that commitment be to the glory of God. Rewards for faithful service were often delayed, but ultimate blessings would be assured on earth and in heaven.
In the Missionary Handbook it read: “Lose yourself in the work. Put out of your life all thoughts and discussions of home, school, girlfriends, and worldly things. Forget yourself in the service of others. ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it’ (Matthew 16:25). ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all things shall be added unto you.’” (Matthew 6:33).
We are not all in full-time missionary service at this time, but we should be striving for discipleship always. If we liken the above counsel unto ourselves and our circumstances of the present, it may read: “Lose yourself in discipleship, work and study of the Lord. Put out of your life all thoughts, habits, games, entertainment, and discussions that limit the influence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Forget yourself in the service of others and discipleship of our Savior. ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it’ (Matthew 16:25). ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all things shall be added unto you’” (Matthew 6:33).
These words and teachings are true for us today. If we will just put the Savior and the building up of His kingdom first, all things shall be added unto us in the time that they are needed. The words of the Lord stand as true today as when He spoke them in life, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).
As the Lord said unto his apostles when He commissioned them to go forth and teach His gospel, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:23-25).
If we are ever tempted to believe that we need to dedicate more time to our personal lives and less time to serving the Lord we have misunderstood. A personal life lived righteously is the work of the Lord, and those personal needs will be taken care if we but put Jesus Christ and the service of others first in our lives.
Jesus well spoke in His Sermon on the Mount, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or, ‘What shall we drink?’ or, ‘Wherewithal shall we be clothed?’ …For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:28-33).
It is daunting to think of having the faith to put discipleship before all else. It is a change of heart, a change of spirit, but the Lord will not fail us, neither our loved ones, in our service to Him. I am strengthened by the Savior’s words, “Be not afraid, only believe,” (Mark 5:36). I am a believer. I do fear, but I believe more, and that belief overcomes fear. I know that the Lord’s promises will be kept. All things will be added unto us. “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.