Kingdom Priority

The meaning and importance of prioritizing the Kingdom of God in our life is the subject of this message.
Today we live in a world that is obsessed with the myth of success.
Many motivational speakers and corporate trainers assure us that setting priorities in our life is a clever way for time management, task management and success.
To help us numerous business self-help books are available in book stores.
They offer a lot of help to manage your resources like health, wealth and time.
One of their common advice is to prioritize our interests and commitments.
It is true that we need to plan and organize our interests and commitments in our life so that we get the most important and urgent things done in time.
Everybody has priorities but often those priorities are not obvious and clouded by nonessentials.
Most of our time we spend doing things that are not essential and we go to places that are not necessary.
Many seem to be just caught up in the rat race.

Jesus Christ, during His wonderful ministry on this earth taught us to prioritize our interests.
He commanded us to keep the kingdom of God and His righteousness at the top of the list.
Not only that, He advised us to forget everything else.
That means there is no second item in the priority list.
He assured us that if we prioritize the Kingdom of God as the first, everything else will follow us.
So no second item is necessary in our priority list.

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  (NKJV)

Kingdom of God

There are more than 80 references to the kingdom of God in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
The Book of Matthew alone contains more than 30.
Just from the sheer volume of times Jesus taught about the kingdom, we see how important it was to Jesus during His earthly ministry.

‘Kingdom of God’ speaks of God’s rule and reign.
The Kingdom of God is God’s dominion, and the recognition of and submission to God’s authority and God's sovereignty.
That means, God is the One in the position of power and God is King.
It also means that we are not in power.
Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ has been placed by God into his Kingdom.

Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,   (NKJV)

Kingdom priority defined

What is the cannon for the Kingdom priority?
The priority of God's kingdom demands that we make every decision with God’s Kingdom in mind.

Setting Kingdom priority is based on Kingdom beliefs.
We believe that Yeshua is recognized as Lord and God over all that exists.
All that opposes God and works that are against Him and His rule should be either subdued or terminated from our life.

We believe that the rule of God will come into individual hearts as people submit to Jesus Christ as their Lord and their God.

We believe that we ourselves have to acknowledge Jesus as our King in obedient response to His promises and commands at every moment of our lives.

We believe in the coming of Jesus’ ultimate and eternal kingdom.
All opposition to Him will be ended and eradicated forever.

We should constantly ask ourselves:

Is this choice I am about to make submissive to my King and his command?
Or is it a personal power play?

Will this choice extend his kingdom in the world? Or will it hinder the increase of his kingdom?

Does this choice express my belief that he is indeed the King?
Or does it give sovereignty to my own weakness, doubts and fears?

Is this choice made in the light of the certain, immanent and powerful coming of Jesus as the King of kings?
Or does it reveal that I view His Kingdom and his coming, more as a topic of theological debate only.

Setting priorities

Setting the right priorities is a Biblical principle.
It is vitally important for success; for material as well as spiritual success.


The Word of God tells us that it is vital to put our priorities in the right order and then carefully cultivate each one with zeal and enthusiasm.

And only the Bible can help us to set priorities that lead to eternal life.

Priorities of a non-believer is different from that of a true Christian.
A non-believer is running after material things while a Christian races after eternal life.
It is because the heart of the first is in this world and that of the second is in heaven.

We are living between the Cross and the Second Coming of Jesus.
Here we live as the ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom.
In fact we live in the inaugurated Kingdom of God.

Everything changes when you enter the kingdom of God.
The heart, loyalty and priorities are different.
All of these changes add up to a radical readjustment of priorities for those in the kingdom.
Yet most of us still struggle to have a kingdom-driven agenda for our lives.
So we must learn to set Kingdom priorities.

Sermon on the Mount

In His famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’, Jesus called for a radical commitment to a kingdom way of life.
The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is recorded in Matthew chapter 5 to 7.
The verses that commands us to set Kingdom priority is Matthew 6:31-33.

Matthew 6:31-33
31   "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.   (NKJV)

Jesus is not limiting His command to food, drink and cloth, rather they represent all that we are worried about in this world.
Food, drink and cloth represent our wants in this world.

Whatever we worry about is the first in our priorities.
We are holding those things in high esteem and urgent.
So Jesus wants us to place the Kingdom of God and its righteousness as the first and the only priority.
The promise from Jesus is that if Kingdom of God is the first priority in our life, there would be no second priority, because God will provide everything else.

As kingdom people, God is calling us to live by the values of His kingdom.
Kingdom values should shape every aspect of our lives.
We are called to be so single-minded concerning the kingdom that everything else should pale in comparison.

Martha and Mary
We know the story of two sisters, Martha and Mary, who were loyal friends of Jesus Christ.
When Christ visited them at their house, both of them wanted to serve Him in the way each considered was most important.
Martha was distracted with preparing food and serving, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to His words.
So Martha came to Jesus and complained about the behavior of Mary and requested Jesus to instruct her to help her in preparing and serving food.
Jesus gave a surprising answer to her.

Luke 10:41,42
41   And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
 42 "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."   (NKJV)

Of course, Martha had been doing a good work and do not think that Jesus was belittling it.
Serving others is highly commended in the Bible, and it is certainly not wrong to serve.
But Jesus was teaching her a lesson about Kingdom priority.
The wonderful thing about the Kingdom is that once you have achieved it, no one would take it away from you.

What is Priority first?

 Establishing the correct priorities in our lives is vital for a successful Christian living.

It is putting the first thing first.
The Bible records many instances to teach us how to set the Kingdom of God as first in our priority list.

The calling of Peter, James and John to follow Jesus is a Sunday school story.
Though we repeat it often, we miss the important message of priority setting.
When they we called to follow Him, the fishermen left everything they had and followed Him.
That means, the value of their fishing properties, the bright future of a successful catch, the concern about the future of their family, nothing was set above the Kingdom.
They just believed that everything else will follow.

The Bible also tells us about some other people who failed miserably to prioritize the Kingdom of God.

We read the story of a young rich man in Luke 18:18-23
A young and rich man came to Jesus with an intention to justify Himself.
But Jesus gave him an advice to prioritize the Kingdom in his life.
This young man was a righteous man according to the religious practices of the time.
He was living carefully obeying all precepts of the Mosaic Law.
But Jesus was not ready to offer the Kingdom of God to him on the basis of his religious life.
Jesus asked him to sell all his wealth, give it to the poor and then follow Him.
Here is a lesson on prioritizing for the rich young man and for all of us.

Riches, health, material possessions, farm lands, houses, father, mother and nothing else should be the first in our priority list.
It must be the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom alone.
Unfortunately the rich man failed to prioritize his interests and left Jesus frustrated.

Seeing him going disappointed, Jesus made a general comment that, it is indeed very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.
But Jesus was not closing the doors of the Kingdom to all rich people.
This tragic story is followed by the miraculous story of conversion of another rich man.
The story above is about a rich religious man, but the story that follows is about a rich person who was a sinner and a social outcast.
It is the story of Zacchaeus.

The story, recorded in Luke 19:1-10, is very popular even among the children.
Zacchaeus was rich man, the chief of a group of tax collectors who worked for the Roman Empire.
His job was a dirty job of corruption and betrayal of his own Jewish community.
So he was a sinner and a religious and social outcast.
It is amazing to note that this man wanted to see Jesus as he passed through the street.

Jesus offered Zacchaeus more than he expected.
Jesus stopped for him, invited him to the company of his disciples and friends, promising to stay in his house for that day.
A miraculous change happened to his life.
He decided to prioritize his interests and placed the Kingdom of God as the first in the list.
Whenever the Kingdom of God comes to the first in the priority list, all other tasks disappear.
And he decided to give up his greed for money and other worldly materials.

This is what happens when you prioritize the Kingdom of God in your life.

Now let us go another man who was invited by Jesus to follow Him, but miserably failed.
The story is recorded in Luke 9:59 and 60.
He asked for permission to stay back at his house until his father died and buried.
But Jesus rejected his petition.

Luke 9:59, 60
59   Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
60   Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."  (NKJV)

What does Jesus really mean here?
Caring an aged father and burying a deceased father was a sacred duty to his son.
In Judaism the literal need to bury a father took precedence over everything else, including the study of the Law.
But a Nazirite vow and the office of a High Priest were exempted from this filial duty.
So it may be that Jesus is equating the Kingdom of God to the office of a High Priest or a Nazirite.
Jesus may be placing the Kingdom above these two offices.

This is a fine example of prioritizing the Kingdom of God.

What is prioritizing the Kingdom?

What is prioritizing the Kingdom really mean?
As I have already said, when you prioritize the Kingdom of God, there will be no more priorities but only priority.
That means, there will be no second or third item in the priority list.
It is only Kingdom of God and nothing else.

Jesus spoke two short parables to convey this idea.
One is about a treasure in a field and another is about a beautiful pearl.
Let us read it:

Matthew 13: 44 - 46
44   "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,
 46 "who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.    (NKJV)

A man found a hidden treasure in a field.
He went home, gathered everything he had and bought that field so that he could inherit the treasure.

In the second parable, a merchant who was a seeker of beautiful pearls found one of great price.
He also went home, gathered everything he had and bought it.

The hidden treasure and the valuable pearl represent the Kingdom of God.
Both the parables starts by the statement that ‘the kingdom of heaven is like’.
So these two parables reveals the mystery of the Kingdom of God.

The treasure was hidden and the merchant was a seeker of pearls.
This conveys a great truth about the Kingdom of God.
Kingdom of God is not a phenomena that may suddenly appear before a man.
Rather, man has to seek and find it.

In both the parables, the man and the merchant had to sell everything they had in order to purchase the great treasure and the pearl.
That means, after the purchase they had nothing with them else the Kingdom of God.
It is the Kingdom and Kingdom alone.

Apostles prioritized their preferences in this way.

Let us go back to Luke chapter 18.
From this chapter, we have already read the story of the young rich ruler who met Jesus to justify himself, but failed miserably to rise up to the standard of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus asked him to prioritize Kingdom of God in his life.
Prioritizing the Kingdom in his life meant to give up all his wealth and follow Jesus.
When he went away failing to standardize his priorities to the demand of the Kingdom of God, Jesus pronounced that it is very hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom.

Now the disciples got the message about prioritizing the Kingdom.
They reminded Jesus that they gave everything they had to follow Him.
And Jesus promised them a good reward.

Luke 18: 29, 30
29   So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
 30 "who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."    (NKJV)

Was Jesus promising a good reward in a future time which is uncertain?
During that time, a disciple who followed a Jewish rabbi give up everything in his life, including his family.
A disciple was supposed to travel with the rabbi wherever he went and lived as the rabbi lived.
He learnt from the life and teachings of the rabbi during the time.
When the rabbi felt confident, he commissioned his disciple for an independent ministry.
After that the new rabbi or the disciple can go back to his home.
This was the religious and social practice of the time.

So the offer of a reward by Jesus is not something that may happen in an uncertain future.
It is assured for every successful disciples.
What is special about Jesus is that He added here an increased reward for successful disciples.
This is the reward for prioritizing the Kingdom of God.

So prioritizing the Kingdom is putting the Kingdom in our priority list as the first and the only one.
There will be no second or third item in the priority list.
So that after placing the Kingdom on the top of the list, we worry about nothing else.
And Jesus promised that all else shall follow those who has prioritized the Kingdom as the first and the only item in the list.

How shall we prioritize the Kingdom?

How shall we prioritize the Kingdom?
By witnessing the Kingdom everywhere and all the time.
In another way, it is Kingdom of God and nothing else in our life.
It is by living the Kingdom living, day and night; in our private life and in our public life.

Kingdom living is Kingdom in everything.
It is Kingdom in our speeches; Kingdom in our action and Kingdom in our thoughts.
It is managing and doing everything that are connected to our life for the increase of the Kingdom.
Nothing that harm the Kingdom in name or act will come out of us.

So let us be honest with ourselves.
Let us ask these questions to ourselves.
Are we putting the Kingdom first and all or are we allowing other aspects of our lives to come before the Kingdom of God?
If the Kingdom is not the first and all, take a decision right now to prioritize the Kingdom of God.
May God bless you. Amen.

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