But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34
We are into Kingdom building and tomorrow worrying, but culture makes it easy to build the wrong kingdoms and worry about the wrong things. We work to build our own personal kingdoms based on our own accomplishments, and we fight tooth and nail to build political kingdoms thinking that if we just get the right president this time, all of our problems will finally be solved and our worries erased! Most of us honestly want what is good, right, and just and honestly think politics can get us there.
Yet it doesn’t take much to realize the futility in this. Looking at our presidents over the last few decades:
Nixon/Ford – R
Carter – D
Reagan/Bush 41 – R
Clinton – D
Bush 43 – R
Obama – D
Trump – R
R – D – R – D – R – D – R- and so on and so on.
We basically pick one side, realize this didn’t fulfill all our wildest dreams, and then we try out the other side with the same result. Maybe that is because what we are seeking is found . . . elsewhere.
The Bible makes promises of justice, peace, unity and joy, and we all generally want these things and we quote these things. Yet the reason we don’t have them is that we keep trying to find them in the wrong places.
The biggest issues in our world can be boiled down to the simple mistake of only embracing half of a Biblical concept while eschewing the other half. The following exchange between Jesus and a questioning listener gives us the perfect example:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40
Here is our problem: we are a quick answer people. We keep trying to skip over to the ‘Love your neighbor’ part without first embracing the ‘Love the Lord’ part. Because religion is sooooo outdated and we are sooooo enlightened now with cell phones and everything so we can just do this on our own without the God part, right?
Here’s the truth:
Trying to love our neighbor without first loving the Lord tends to generate the opposite effect of everyone resenting their neighbor. It leads us to hatred and endless arguing.
Go ahead and scroll your news feed and tell me I’m wrong. How many good friends no longer have the wherewithal to love one another because someone posted a meme they didn’t like?
All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.
Loving neighbors without loving God is good intentioned, but is not love.
It leads to virtue signaling.
It leads to church members leaving communion over mask policies.
It leads to ‘unfriending’ people on facebook over politics.
It leads to cities burning, hatred spewing and vitriol destroying.
On some level it may be well intentioned, but it is clearly has no marks of love.
Which is why we as believers do well to start the day not with social justice, but Biblical justice. Not reading the news, but reading the Word of God. We do well to engage with God, to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness before we engage with others and seek to build relationships. We do well to surrender our heart, soul, mind and strength to Him for His uses and His glory instead of failing within our own and ending the day frustrated.
The Kingdom of God is at work among us, and as we view ourselves as contributors to His Kingdom we will see it change the way we view and love those around us. This is what will ultimately change the world and the lives around us.
This is what Jesus tell us.