Do you recognize the following passage from the Bible?

“So I tell you, don’t worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes.  Look at the birds in the air.  They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your Heavenly Father feeds them.  And you know that you are worth much more than the birds.  You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.
“And why do you worry about clothes?  Look at how the lillies in the field grow.  They don’t work or make clothes for themselves.  But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers.  God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire.  So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you.  Don’t have so little faith!  Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?” or ‘What will we wear?’  The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things , and your Father in heaven knows you need them.”
 
What about this passage?
“The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants.  Then all these other things you need will be given to you.”  Perhaps you are more familiar with this version: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
 
I have heard them before.  Many, many times.  The first passage in one type of situation, the second in other types.  I’ve read them before straight out of the Bible, too.  Even in sequence, but I never put them together…until this weekend.  Probably a duh moment for some of you, but the Spirit reveals things to us in Scripture each in the time that we need to see it.  Let me give you the reference for these passages.  Let’s see if this is a spiritual a-ha moment for some of you as well.  The first passage is found in Matthew 6:25-32…the second is Matthew 6:33.  News flash to me!  They go together!  Hand-in-hand.  Like two pieces of a puzzle.  Doy!
So what is the big deal?  First of all, I have to say that I think we separate these passages for a reason.  I think we like to just take the first passage and make it a feel-good message that God is our great Provider, there is nothing to worry about, so don’t worry – be happy.  I think it re-assures us.  It is comforting.
Verse 33 is comforting, too, in it’s own way.  That whole part about all these things being added to you, and all.  But did you notice something?  There is an if-then.  Remember those from school.  I really didn’t like them.  Something about having to figure out the absolutes that connected one to the other.  Ooo!  Absolutes.  There are absolutes in if-then statements.  The whole scientific, mathematical  whatever it was, if this is, then that will happen.  Read verse 33 again.  If we are seeking God’s kingdom first in our lives.  And if we are seeking to do what He wants first, before what the world wants, before what we want, then all the other things we need will be given to us.  Oh, did you notice that, too…need.  The things we need will be given to us.  What are the other things that we need?  Look back up to the previous verses.  Food (water) and clothing.
How much of our energies do we spend on those needs?  Quite a bit really.  They tend to take our focus off of God.  Let me give you an example.  During the week, when I am working, I do a lot of driving.  This school year, I am putting 1,000 miles a week on the car, traveling from district to district.  That is a lot of windshield time.  But it is quiet time.  Few distractions.  I don’t spend a whole lot of that time concerned with my dinner, or my clothing, or much else.  Even the traffic is not too much of a dis-tractor (of course in Northwest Iowa, the amount of cars may not even fit the definition of the word traffic).  My point is that I have plenty of time to pray and meditate, and worship through song.  It is fairly easy to seek God’s kingdom first…when I’m in a car by myself.  In the evening, and on the weekends, however, that is a very different story.  At home, with 4 rowdy boys running around, chaos reigns supreme!  It is a real task to keep my mind focused on God’s kingdom.  And very often, I forget completely until I sit down to pray before my evening meal, and then again when I lay my head down on my pillow.  So what is likely to happen over the up-coming summer when chaos reigns supreme for three whole months?  I don’t know.
I recently saw another blog called TGIF…Today God is First.  I really like that.  My goal for the summer, and every day, is to keep God in my thoughts all day, every day.  To intertwine prayers to Him with whatever thoughts I am entertaining…even if I have to be as dramatic as to place reminders all around me, set a regular alarm to remind me to pray, or do as I often do now, write a one-word message or acronym on the back of my hand.  Every time I wash my hands, I see it, and am reminded.  Won’t you join me in doing whatever you need to do to keep God’s kingdom and His righteousness right out there in central focus.  Then what blessings will we experience?