The love triangle was tearing the lad apart. He was engaged to be married to his childhood sweetheart Mandy, but recently had become besotted with Maria from the office. He was plagued by the dilemma – should he dump Mandy so he could have Maria, or forget the girl of his dreams and stick with his soulmate? Eventually, he decided to ask God Himself for guidance. He walked into a Catholic church near his house and prayed: “Who should I choose – Mandy or Maria?” He looked up and on the wall he saw his answer as clear as day – ‘Ave Maria’. He skipped out, conﬁ dent that his decision had been rubber-stamped by the Almighty himself – and promptly broke off his engagement.
Wouldn’t it be great to have speciﬁc and unmistakable guidance from God, especially for the big questions? Am I in the right job? Where should I live? Should I propose? Should I settle down or travel the world? What happens if it all goes horribly wrong?
Just like the lad in the story, we will go to any length to find answers. But the poor boy had no more heard guidance from God than the girl who, looking for careers advice, randomly opened her Bible and read: “The tablets were the work of God” (Exodus 32:16) and decided to become a pharmacist.
Does this mean the Bible has nothing to say about life-changing decisions? Absolutely not – it has a lot of wisdom to offer. Matthew 6:28-34 is relevant to every Christian worrying about their future. It contains a decision on which all other decisions hang: are we going to “seek first God’s kingdom”?
- Seeking God’s kingdom means a change of priorities.
Imagine I was to fill a glass jar with the entire contents of a tray full of sand, pebbles and rocks. If I began with the sand and the pebbles, the chances of manoeuvring the rocks in at the end would be slim – there would simply be no space. The best strategy would be to put the largest objects in first and then add the pebbles and sand in afterwards. In the same way, we need to make sure that big things in our lives are sorted first and allow everything else to fit in around them. Too often, God’s kingship gets crowded out of our lives by the insignificant, so God tells us to make sure that His kingdom is the priority in our lives and to let details such as career prospects and income, clothing and food fit in afterwards.
- Seeking God’s kingdom means a change of principles.
Putting God’s agenda first means that our primary job is as God’s recruits into the world, whatever our career or salary or location. Jesus’ words are to people who have no idea where their next meal is coming from, or how they will replace the clothes on their back when they wear thin. However low our bank accounts get, however bleak the job market seems, we are rarely fearful that we will starve or be made homeless. Nevertheless, if Jesus can command the poorest people to prioritise our life in this way, then we, too, should work out how to get stuck into God’s kingdom agenda before we start worrying about other life decisions. When we decide to prioritise our life in this way, Jesus promises that God will take care of all our needs. Does this mean we can sit back and watch God come through on His promise? No more than the birds of the air in Matthew 6 can wait in their nests for worms and berries to be served on a plate. But with the decision to seek first God’s kingdom firmly established, we can be reassured that God will provide for us. Then we can work out how to use our skills and abilities to access the resources and plans He has available for us.
This extract is taken from FINAL by Krish Kandiah, used with the kind permission of the publisher, IVP. The book is available to buy direct from IVP.