What do we really want?

“But seek first His kingdom”

Matthew 6:33

The last sandwich made with leftover turkey has been eaten.  The last piece of pumpkin pie was probably gone days ago.  Now we turn our focus to Christmas – even though we have been bombarded with carols and ads for the last month.  We also now get to the serious task of making lists and checking them twice.  Of trying to figure out who has been nice and who has been, well let’s just say not so nice.  And of course, let’s not forget to make out our own list of what we want verses need so we can hand it out to loved ones. 

The difference between wants and needs can be difficult to determine.  If we’re not careful, we can reduce something valuable to something less than it really is.  People actually did that with the kingdom of God when Christ was on earth.  They did not reject the kingdom of God, but they did diminish it.  How you ask.  When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in triumphal entry, the multitudes cried out in praise for “the coming kingdom of our father David.” (Mark 11:8-10)  Sounds good, except what they actually did was shrivel down God’s kingdom to someone who had ruled a thousand years earlier.  Another time occurred after Christ’s resurrection when his disciples asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6)  In both of these incidents, people made the kingdom of God something less than it really was.  They made it contingent on King David and the nation Israel.  The problem with that?  The kingdom of God is centered in God alone.  In centering it elsewhere, they lessened its value.  Obviously, these people were more concerned with what they wanted than what they truly needed. 

It’s easy to deflate the value of things when we center our wants on ourselves.  I would like to challenge each of us this Christmas season to think about some things of value that we could be a part of making happen.  Things that further the kingdom of God.  Perhaps there is an elderly person we know who would love to have a little company.  We could make that happen.  Or maybe there is someone struggling who could use some groceries.  We could make that happen.  And I’m sure we all know someone who simply needs a listening and compassionate ear.  We can certainly come alongside them with love and compassion. 

When we place our emphasis on things of true value, we may actually discover that we  receive more than we give.   In addition, in the process we raise the true value of the kingdom of God to the height it deserves.                                                     Darlene