December 31, 2023 | Dan Low
The beginning of a brand new year prompts us to mull over our priorities. What really matters to us? Where should we allocate our time and resources? How do we measure success? Who sets our agenda?
At the earliest stage of his public ministry, Jesus distinguishes those who truly know him from those who do not (Matthew 5-7). While those who belong to the world chase after earthly things (like food, clothing, and reputation), real disciples of Jesus seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. That includes pursuing intimacy with God, adhering to biblical standards, and not being consumed by everyday stuff.
We will seek God’s kingdom first if we savor his presence most. As we daily cherish God’s person (qualities like his goodness, grace, justice, love, and mercy), we will invariably choose his priorities.
I am forever thankful to God for blessing me with a wife who loves Jesus more than me, picturing for our family what it means to seek God’s kingdom first. By God’s grace, Helen has consistently practiced that on multiple fronts: a steady discipline to pray for each of us in every way, a remarkable devotion to care for her aging parents, a fresh courage to step into new opportunities (both inside and outside our church), an enduring passion to love middle schoolers by teaching them (for as long as we’ve been married and I’ve been a pastor), and a truth-filled posture of grace that helps me become a better husband to her, dad to our children, leader at church, volunteer in the community, and follower of Jesus.
One lesson that God has been teaching us throughout the years: As our loving Father, he graciously provides our daily needs if we humbly pursue his eternal kingdom.
So let’s resolve to seek God’s kingdom first throughout 2024. Here are some ways that we can do that as a church family: (1) Invite the Holy Spirit to regularly examine our priorities (what consumes our energy) and empower any necessary changes. (2) Challenge one another to use our God-given talents to bless and serve others. (3) Bear each other’s burdens by listening with our hearts and praying on the spot.
In a year filled with endless possibilities and countless choices, let’s invest wisely by laying up for ourselves heavenly treasures throughout our earthly journey.