The Main Thing
I always have believed when you begin anything, a job, a school year, a marriage, or a new year, you must begin by prioritizing what the main thing is with whatever you are starting. If its your job, you need to identify the thing that you are supposed to do and learn how to do that at the best of your ability. If it is the school year as a teacher, your main thing is to make sure your students learn your routines and expectations so that the main thing of teaching in an environment they can learn will be achieved. If it is a marriage and you are getting married, it is good to start focused on the main thing of being one as a team at the beginning of the union then later trying to become a team in the middle.
Focusing on the main thing will go a long way in being successful. There are around 627,000 businesses on average that open up each year. And their area around 595,000 business that close each year. Statistically speaking, 20% of business close in the first year while 50% close by year 5. Corporate consultants say that the common denominator among all those failed companies is that they have no clear purpose; they lack a specific goal and direction. Someone has said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
Again, focusing on the main thing can make all the difference and from the get go we need to do that in everything we do. Especially as the body of Christ, it is important to Jesus at the center of everything we do. I believe that if we practice these simple truths we are taught to live by in scripture it will keep Jesus our Main thing in our every day walks.
For today’s instruction, read with me what Jesus tells us in Matthew 6.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
When babies are born, they don’t spend any time worrying about where their clothes, food, and shelter are going to come from. They are completely dependent upon those taking care of them. As a matter of fact, they are almost presumptuous when they cry, expecting that someone is going to take care of their need. Imagine Christ saying he would do that for us in our life? How awesome would that be? Oh wait … he did! In Matthew 6, he promises clothing, food, and other needs will be met. There is only one stipulation, one prerequisite, one thing that must be completed before he provides it. Are you ready to hear it? Are you ready to do it?
What is that one stipulation/prerequisite to having our needs met? Seeking first his kingdom and his righteous. That’s it! Keeping the main thing the main thing. The word “seek” used in verse 33 has the idea of the “‘seeking’ of what is lost which is undertaken by the Son of Man with a view to saving it (Luke 19:10), as a shepherd looks for the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12) or a woman for the lost coin (Luke 15:8)”
Let’s take this further according the context of this passage. In verses 31 and 32, Jesus says that unbelievers “run after” worries about the needs of this life. “Run after” is a form of the same Greek word as “seek” in verse 33. That’s not a coincidence. The way unbelievers run around worrying about this life is the same way we ought to run around seeking after Christ. It’s just habit and normal.
The main thing for unbelievers (according to verse 32) is things or stuff. They are really good at keeping their main thing as the main thing. But the question is, How good are we, as Christians, at keeping our main thing as the main thing in our lives ? Are we keeping Jesus and his kingdom the main thing in our life?
Now lets get to the excuses, but pastor, I have to many other things to worry about to prioritize furthering God’s kingdom. I have to take care of my family, my job, etc. Church, I’m not telling you to neglect your family or not do your job, I’m telling you that Jesus said to keep him and his kingdom the main thing in your life and if so that will show in our work and our family.
Think about it this way, Jesus knows our questions before we ask them because he’s God and he understands human frailty. Jesus assumed you would ask, “But what about …?” Or “and then there’s ….” Or “but what if …?” In verses 25–30 he gives multiple examples answering all your deepest questions: What will I eat? What about clothes? What about my needs (not wants, necessarily)? Jesus gives a humorous yet stern rebuke. He asks if we can ever add an hour to our day by worrying. Well … no. If God can take care of birds who do not have barns to save food in for various seasons, don’t you think he’ll take care of us who are much more valuable to him than the birds? Well … yes. What a thought! What a rebuke!
Let me put it in math terms. The rule is that 2 + 2 = 4. Perhaps you first learned this by taking apples, pens, beans, beads, or some other object and creating a combination of two and two that equaled four total objects. Does it happen every time? Does two and two always equal four? Are you sure? Yes. Yes, it does. If I take two apples and combine it with two more apples, I will always have four apples. That’s the way simple arithmetic works. We don’t even question it. God’s spiritual economy works the same way. I seek him and his kingdom first, and I’m guaranteed every single time to end up with “all these things will be given to you as well.” To continue with our 2 + 2 = 4 example, we could put it like this: I seek Christ + seek his kingdom = provision. That is keeping the main thing the main thing and a notable promise from our Lord.
This brings us to the age-old, paradoxical question: Why do those who are faithful to God’s service suffer lack at times? Consider those in the Bible who were faithful, yet they suffered lack: Elijah, Job, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Paul, to name a few. This is a valid question and one that deserves an answer. As with anything, you must take the part (his promise) in the context of the whole (the rest of Scripture). The Bible speaks much to this question (2 Thessalonians 1:4–5, James 1:2–7; 2 Corinthians 1:3–7). If we are to seek his kingdom, at times suffering lack has ramifications beyond this present time. We certainly don’t always understand it, but it does not make Jesus’s words false. After all, Christ wasn’t hinting that the Christian life would be easy or smooth sailing—otherwise, everyone would have followed him. As a part of this same sermon in Matthew, he said, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (7:14). He also said, in Luke 14:27, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” These seem like harsh words from someone who just offered promise. The key point in this answer is that God’s ways are not our ways, but we must be willing to let God work in us as he sees fit through these situations. The seeming absence of God’s provision or presence does not negate his actual presence or provision.
We are to seek his kingdom first. When we do this, it will help us align our lives where Jesus is the Main thing.
Adapted from the Series “The Main Thing”