Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prepping for the Kingdom

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:31-34  NKJV

You may have noticed a program that has aired recently on television called “Doomsday Preppers” which examines the lives of families who are preparing to survive what is described as a coming apocalyptic upheaval of society as we know it.  They have chosen to prepare by constructing underground shelters or above ground fortresses stocked with food, water, supplies, and most of all arms and ammunition to defend themselves.  Now while at first glance this might seem wise if you accept the idea that what they are preparing for is actually going to occur, as believers, the question we need to ask ourselves is should our approach be different than theirs?

Now I have always thought it prudent, especially living in the northwest, to be prepared to survive a few days without power during the winter months when we can experience stormy weather.  In my opinion, however, that is a far different thing than what these individuals are choosing to do.  As always, if we as believers have questions concerning our approach to life’s problems, the first thing we should do is examine what the scriptures have to say that might be applicable under these circumstances.  In this passage from Matthew, we find that Jesus is talking about what most of us worry about at one time or another and that is providing for ourselves and our families.

“Do not worry”.  The very first thing our Lord tells us is not to worry.  Who among us has never worried?  What does it say about human nature if the very first thing Jesus speaks about is not to worry?  Jesus knows our weaknesses and obviously a lack of faith on our part is something we all will struggle with at times.  I think back to all the times I may have worried while trying to provide for my family as my children were growing up and it is almost embarrassing to realize that in every single instance God provided for us, and my worry was a complete waste of time and energy.

“For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”  As parents, I’m sure most of us would agree we had a very good idea of just what our children needed, or didn’t need as they were growing up.  How could we possibly think an omnipotent God would not know the needs of His own children and to provide for us all of the things we need to survive?  Yet we do it all the time by devoting our efforts to not only providing for our needs, but actually accumulating more than we need just as the world says that we should.  I believe the point Jesus is trying to make is that there should be a difference between what the world “seeks” and what believers “seek”.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”.  There is a stark difference between the secular world view and the biblical world view.  Jesus tells us that rather than seeking to prepare by accumulating (worldly approach), the believer should trust God to provide and seek His kingdom and righteousness (biblical approach).  What exactly does seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness mean to us as believers?  I think a good clue can be found in an earlier portion of this passage in Matthew where Jesus begins His discussion of this subject and says this;

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.           Matthew 6:19-20  NKJV

How does a believer accumulate treasure in Heaven?  I believe since in many places we are told that when we get to Heaven our works on this earth will be judged and rewards given or lost, the treasure Jesus is talking about is what we choose to do with what we are given on this earth in order to further His kingdom.  I believe God expects us as believers to give generously to those in need, and only keep what we really need rather than “accumulating” as the world does.  In other words, believers should be more concerned with “heavenly prepping” rather than “earthly prepping” and this is accomplished by seeking to supply for the needs of those less fortunate around us.

each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.         1 Corinthians 3:13-14  NKJV

Generosity towards others is not limited to our material blessings from God, but also includes our service for Him by giving of our time and efforts to do good works in His name. You might watch worldly preppers and come to the justifiable conclusion that they are obsessed with their efforts to prepare for what they believe is coming, as well as noticing their efforts are all designed to help themselves and not others.  Our question to ourselves should be do others see us as obsessed with preparing for the coming Kingdom?  The world should see our works for God and wonder much in the same way as we look at them and wonder.

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’         Matthew 25:34-40  NKJV

Are you prepping for the Kingdom?

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