Seeking the Kingdom First
Now I want to call your attention to the other text I spoke of. My text is both a question and a command. The question is “What seek ye?” and the command is this: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” This is just as much a command as it is that “Thou shalt not steal.” It is just as much a command for us to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness as it is a command that we shall not swear. It is one of the commands of the Bible. Jesus, when he was down here, in that memorable sermon on the Mount, said: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” That was to come first; it was to come in ahead of everything else. The Master’s ways are not our ways. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. What we put last, God puts first; what we put first, he puts last; the whole thing is reversed. We say, we do not want to seek the kingdom of God first. We have a good many things that must be attended to before we seek the kingdom of God. I know, if persons think they would like to be converted, they always think they have some preparations to make beforehand. Now this is just as much a command to-day as it was so many hundreds of years ago. Do you think if he was on earth today, he would alter that command? Do you think he would say for you to put off your salvation for one hour? Do you think he would tell you to seek his kingdom at some future time? Every day we hear of persons dying suddenly; sometimes without God and without hope, because they have not obeyed this command to seek first the kingdom of God. One reason that people do not seek first the kingdom of God is this: that they do not believe that God is real, and that he has a kingdom, and that they can find him; but they make light of the existence of his kingdom. The whole living world is seeking for something. There is not a person in this world who is not seeking for something. Then why not seek for the best things? If people will so seek for temporal things, doesn’t it serve to show that you do not believe that God is real; or else you would first seek the kingdom of God, and find it before any of these other things?
I heard, some time ago, of a young man who wanted to become a Christian. His father was a worldly man, full of ambition and a desire to get on. His son went to him and told him his wish. The father turned around in astonishment, put on a dissatisfied look, and said: “My son, you have made a mistake. You had better wait until you get established in business; wait till you get older; better wait till you make some money; there is plenty of time yet to become a Christian.” Does any young man here believe that? You know what the rich man in the Scripture said and did. That man had got well on in business; he had made lots of money; his goods were increasing every year. At last, after an unusually plentiful harvest, he found he had to build more barns and storehouses. He felt sure of being able to enjoy himself; he was happy and contented, as he thought how his bank account was swelling, “Soul, take thine ease, thou hast much goods laid up for many days.” He never thought of the future; the present was all he cared anything about. But in his fancied security, he heard the dread and stunning summons, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” He had to leave all these things behind him; death snatched him away, and he lost the heaven he had neglected to make sure of on earth.
I heard a story of a young lady who was deeply concerned about her soul. Her father and mother, however, were worldly people. They thought lightly of her serious wishes; they did not sympathize with her state of mind. They made up their minds that she should not become a Christian, and tried every way they could to discourage her notions about religion. At last they thought they would get up a large party, and thus with gaiety and pleasure win her back to the world. So they made every preparation for a grand time; they even sent to neighboring towns, and got all her most worldly companions to come to the house; they bought her a magnificent silk dress and jewelry, and decked her out in all the finery of such an occasion. The young lady thought there would be no harm in attending the party; that it would be a trifling affair, a simple thing, and she could, after it was over, think again of the welfare of her soul. She went, decked out in all her adornments, and was the belle of the ball. Three weeks from that night she was on her dying bed. She asked her mother to bring her ball-dress in. She pointed her finger at it, and, bursting into tears said, “That is the price of my soul.” She died before the dawn. Oh, my friends, if you are anxious about your soul, let everything else go; let parties and festivals pass. Seek ye first the kingdom of God; then all these things will be added unto you. God commands you to do it. If you are lost—if you die in your sin—whose fault is it? God has commanded you to repent, and to seek salvation at once.
~ This is from Mr. Moody’s sermon “What Seek Ye” in The Gospel Awakening