I have heard that "seeking first the kingdom" means putting my church first and foremost in my life. Is this a right interpretation? -- V.J.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), seeking first the kingdom seems to be synonymous with doing the will of the father (7:21). Since the Lord is our king, seeking first his kingdom (his rule, his sovereignty) in our lives is much, much broader than supporting the fellowship or programs of the local congregation. In Matthew 6, as well as in the parallel passage in Luke 12, seeking the kingdom means rejecting the priorities of the world. The pagans show their lack of faith by being consumed with anxiety about the exigencies of day-to-day living. We are not to be like this, but rather trust that the Lord will take care of us. "All these things" (food, drink, clothing -- that is, the basics) will be provided if we put God first. This is a general principle; there are obviously exceptions, both in the pages of the Bible as well as in our own time.

So, to answer your question, I would say "Yes and no." Yes, seeking the kingdom includes involvement with other Christians in the church, which is God's chosen people, the bride of Christ, the called-out assembly of the saints, etc. Church involvement is included because this is part of putting the will of the Father first in our lives. But no, seeking the kingdom is emphatically not seeking the church. That is to force the kingdom into far too small an entity.

Once again, and lest I am misunderstood or misquoted, I doubt that anyone is seeking the kingdom if he or she is not devoted to the fellowship of the church, even though seeking the kingdom is much more than commitment to church.

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