As Jesus was concluding what has become known as the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:33-34). In this, we are told to put God first in our lives and not to concentrate all our beings on the physical things of this life.
Yet often, we see people placing money and belongings before God. It is like things have become their “gods” and they must worship at the “shrine of things” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is reminiscent of a parable Jesus told. “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully, and he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?’ And he said, ‘This will I do: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said unto him, ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God’” (Luke 12:16-21). So many people forget that God has given them the ability to accumulate what they need that they think they did it all themselves.
Then there are those who just sit and wait for God to provide everything for them. This is a misunderstanding of the saying of Jesus; God means for man to provide for his family. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). God is not opposed to us having money, but he does warn against money being the idol of our lives. “For the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10).
God expects man to do his part, but some overlook that fact. When Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus, he told the men to remove the stone, because that is something they could do. He raised Lazarus from the dead, because man could not do that (John 11:38).
So what is the answer? We need to understand the teachings of God. Put him first in all we do, care for our families and provide for them, but do not let the physical things get in the way of our service and devotion to God. God’s blessings are ever-present, but people must realize that they must prioritize their lives with God coming first.
This is part one of a two-part series.