The conversation at the restaurant breakfast table was blunt. A group of men were looking at the last 11 verses of Matthew 6 and wondering how to
“seek first the Kingdom of God.”
What does it mean to trust our day-to-day needs will be
supplied by a heavenly Father? Can we really live that out?
“I don’t really think about church stuff at my job,”
commented a computer program-
mer. “Does that mean I’m serving
wealth, not God?”
From there the discussion soared
– or sank, depending on your point
of view. No one volunteered to quit
his job and hit the road in search of
Christian volunteer service opportun-
ities. We agreed what we call work
is essential to human well-being, but
that the money it generates should
not be the driving force of our lives.
Is how we spend our time a fair
indication of our priorities? By that
yardstick we had to recognize our
money-making activities certainly
do rank high – higher than church, family time, explicit
Christian ministry, and even higher than sleep.
So, how do we “seek first the Kingdom of God” when
we’re basically just occupied with the stuff of daily living?
Even when we’re not working, we keep plenty busy with
all kinds of good and wholesome activities – shopping,
preparing food, eating, visiting friends, recreation, exercising, listening to music, reading books, watching movies
and so on.
How do we seek or serve God when we’re not actively
thinking about God stuff? When we’re occupied with the
mundane affairs of life on Earth? When Kingdom stuff
just doesn’t register?
When Is god Most real?
Somewhere in the midst of this discussion I dropped the
question, “When is God most real to you?” The answers
were telling. “In times of crisis,” replied one. “When I’m
very tired and feeling helpless,” said another. “When a
child is born or someone dies.”
god and My Job
What’s the right way to juggle mundane
work and God’s kingdom?
We cringed to realize our awareness of God tends to
fade when things are just grooving along nicely. It’s not
unusual to take good things for granted, and to become
more appreciative when our needs are harder to satisfy.
We’re most thankful for food when we’ve been hungry
for a season, more grateful for good clothes when we’ve
lived in rags. Comfort is most precious when it comes
in the aftermath of great torment, money most valuable
when it relieves desperate poverty, and community most
welcome in the wake of deep loneliness.
Life’s more demanding moments force us to recognize
the limitations of our humanity, and feel most strongly the
spiritual impulses of our souls. “Is not life more than food,
and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6: 25). These
are the moments when the immediate concerns of life fade into the big
picture of cosmic reality.
And so we do well to ask ourselves, What is real? What is good?
What is lasting? What should I do?
How Christian spirituality illuminates everyday life is a huge
topic. But a good starting point is
to realize life is most worth living
when it’s not all about ourselves.
Life is most worth living when it
leaves room for the Spirit and takes
profound interest in the welfare of
Our little breakfast club even
picked up a glimmer of insight that God’s presence and
blessing does not depend on our immediate mental attentiveness. Our emotions, actions and natural reactions
also reveal a great deal about who we are, who we are
becoming and whom we serve.
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his right-
eousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”
(Matthew 6: 33, NRS). We want to believe it. Lord, help us
in our unbelief. FT
DOug KOOP is a Winnipeg-based writer and spiritual
health specialist. Find more of these columns at
BlessedIs TheMan n BY DOUG KOOP
life is most worth
living when it’s not
all about ourselves.
life is most worth
living when it leaves
room for the spirit
and takes profound
interest in the
welfare of others.