It’s the first of January—the day we’re supposed to make resolutions for 2016: a list of goals that will make our lives better. We think about losing weight, saving money, stopping smoking, working out regularly, and a host of other positive changes we could make. It’s overwhelming! Where do we start?
Jesus says, “Put God’s kingdom first. Put God’s righteousness first. The rest will follow.”
MAKE IT CONCRETE
Hmm…that’s pretty abstract, so let’s make it concrete. Many churches ask members to give from their three broad categories: money, time, and talents. There are other ways to look at life, of course, but let’s use that list.
- Money: What happens to my budget if I put God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first? I don’t think that automatically means I have to give more money to the church than I put against my mortgage (though God might call me to do just that). I do think it means I prayerfully consider how God wants me to spend my money before I make my budget. I do think it means giving takes a place of honor.
- Time: What happens to my week if I put God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first? I don’t think it necessarily means I have to spend more time at the soup kitchen than I spend at work (though God might call me into full-time Christian service). I do think it means I prayerfully consider how God wants me to spend all my time whether I’m at work, at home, at play, or volunteering.
- Talents: What do I do with my talents if I put God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first? I don’t think it necessarily means I’m called to only use my talents for “Christian” audiences (though God might call me to that). I do think it means I prayerfully consider what talents I have and how God wants me to use them.
Does putting God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness sound like a lot of work? It isn’t.
LISTEN TO JESUS
“Do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.” [Matthew 6:31-34, the Voice]
Living faithfully: Maybe the only New Year’s resolution we need is to start each day with “Good morning, Lord!”