What are “all these things”_ anyway by wuyunqing

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									                What are “all these things”, anyway?
I heard “…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things
shall be added unto you.” for years in song form and quoted from Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
before I got to thinking just what “all these things” are. I knew that we were supposed to
put God first, and I kind of let the rest pass. But, I finally became curious as to just what
things God was promising us if we seek his kingdom and righteous above all else.

To get the full context, we need to read Matthew 6:19-34. It becomes clear that “all
these things” are the material needs we have. Instead of being concerned about money,
food, shelter, or clothing, we should be concerned about the things of God. Then, he
promises he‟ll take care of those things. He doesn‟t promise that we‟ll have every
material thing we ever wanted, but that he will give those things we need.

Money is probably the biggest one of “all these things” that wants to take first place away
from God. After all, we can buy the rest of them for ourselves if we just have money.
But, we can‟t seek both God and money equally. One of them will be our master. In our
society, we‟ve heard lots of things about money: “Money makes the world go around.”,
“Money is power.”, “Everyone has their price.”. But, it‟s God that makes the world go
around; he made it to do that. No one has more power than God. Jesus paid the price for
us on the cross.

Why would we want money more than God? Well, we can meet our own needs with it
and not have to wait on God. We can do things our way. That sounds innocent enough
on the surface, but that‟s really what sin boils down to: wanting things our way instead of
God‟s way. We want control. We want to be our own gods. That was the temptation
that was too great for Satan that led to his fall. That was what he tempted Eve with in the
Garden of Eden that led to man‟s downfall. And that is the ongoing struggle between our
spirit and our flesh, one wanting to do things God‟s way, and the other it‟s own.

God puts us to the test about what our first love is all the time. It‟s not because he
doesn‟t know, but because we may think we‟re putting him first when we have others in
his place. One of the simplest money tests is tithing. Are we willing to give back a tenth
of what he gives us, or do we hold on to it because we think we need it to meet our
needs? Interestingly, God asks us to test him with our tithe as well; Malachi 3:10 says,
“‟Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me
in this,‟ says the Lord Almighty, „and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of
heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.‟” The
blessings may not be monetary; they could be more valuable things than just money.
Tithing isn‟t a “get rich quick” scheme.

God doesn‟t need our money. What he does want us to know is whether we place more
value in it or in him. We probably all remember, “God loves a cheerful giver.” from the
verse, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or
under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” If you only give from feelings of
guilt, don‟t give. If you begrudge every bit you give God, don‟t give. If the most you
can give God joyfully is your loose change, that is all you should give him. God means it;
he doesn‟t want you to feel compelled to give him anything, and would rather not take
anything from you under those terms. But, before you decide, this is another place where
the context is so important. We need to read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 to get the full effect
of God‟s plan. What power there is in God and giving joyfully!

If God promises us “all these things” if we seek his kingdom and righteousness first, why
are we reluctant to part with the money that we may think we need to get them for
ourselves? Well, maybe we‟re worried about giving the money up without seeking him
first… that‟d be a valid concern. His promise is only good if we put him first. But, if
we‟re really trying to put God in first place, what else might hold us back? Trusting in
his promise? Do we really believe he‟ll keep his word? Well, he‟s asked us in Malachi
3:10 to test him in this (kind of a departure from the usual “Do not put your God to the
test.” found in Deuteronomy 6:16 and quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:12). Of course, God
never fails a test that he‟s agreed to take on.

Well, wondering about what “all these things” are started me on a journey of discovery
about God‟s promises and some ways I need to test my own heart to make sure he‟s the
one in the center.

								
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