Read: Matthew 6
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
What is your motivation? Why do you do what you do? How would the people who have a front row seat to the drama of your life—your spouse, your children, your friends, your classmates, your co-workers—describe the passion that drives you?
Let me explain why I ask these questions? Bear with me, because I want to take a moment before I come back to this question of motivation.
We have a tendency in reading Scripture to focus more on individual verses rather than the entirety of a passage. This is certainly the case with the Sermon on the Mount—particularly chapter 6.
Keep in mind that when Jesus first delivered this sermon, it was not written; it was spoken. It didn’t have verse numbers or paragraph headings; it was delivered as a whole thought. It was not delivered in one-liners or in sound-bytes. I don’t think Jesus prepared it with the thought that it would one day be great fodder for Scripture memory.
In this sermon, Jesus was revealing to his disciples for the first time what the Kingdom life was all about—the ways and means of the Kingdom of God and how its citizens would flesh it out in day-to-day living.
When you read Matthew 6 from that perspective, then everything about this wonderful chapter—Christ’s teaching on giving, fasting, the Heavenly Father’s concern for our needs, and the most beloved part of all, the Lord’s Prayer—must be run through the filter of one key idea: Motivation.
That’s why Jesus says that your giving to the needy (verses 1-4), your praying (verses 5-15), and your fasting (verses 16-18), must be done secretly—that is, quietly and not with the motive to impress other people with your spirituality. That’s why he says you can’t serve both God and money at the same time (verse 24). That’s why he calls you to a worry-free life that doesn’t get hung up on material things of this world (verses 25-34).
He is saying that if you want to be a part of his kingdom, then your motives for doing what you do must change. That’s why he challenges you to invest in God’s Kingdom—“lay up treasures in heaven…” (verse 19-21). That’s why he calls you to eschew the all-consuming pursuit of stuff, exchanging that worldly passion with a kingdom passion—“But seek first the Kingdom of God…” (verse 33).
Jesus is calling you to a higher, purer, better motivation for life: the health and welfare of the Kingdom of God. And when you make God’s Kingdom your first and highest pursuit through giving, praying, fasting, then your whole being will be infected by something eternal—namely, the presence of God. The purposes of God will drive your behavior, the power of God will sustain your efforts, and the pleasure of God will be your chief end. When your motives as a citizen of the Kingdom of God thus have been sanctified, you will live for the glory of God alone—Soli Deo Gloria!
So Jesus calls you to closely examine your life (reread verses 22-23) because the growth of the Kingdom of God in your heart is riding on what you allow the driving motivation of your life to be.
What’s your motivation? Why do you do what you do? What would others say the consuming passion of your life is?
Jesus would say, “store up treasures in heaven; start making kingdom investments. They produce better returns in the long run, and in the short term, your Heavenly Father, who knows exactly what you need, will provide it.”
“I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” ~David Livingstone
What If God Took Over?
Heavenly Father, I want my only motivation in life to be that I live for your glory alone. Make me a soli Deo gloria kind of person! I want to have a consuming passion for the things that you care about. Cleanse me from the wasteful pursuit of the temporary. May it be said of me by all of heaven and the people who know me on this earth, “he sought first the Kingdom of God; he pursued God’s righteousness with an all consuming passion. He is a true example of the Kingdom life.”