From: Rich Carlson
Date: April 16, 2021
Subject: It's April 16; Good Morning Union

The forth category of dad's “absolutes” is “The Absolute focus on the Savior.”


“Seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness…”     Matthew 6:33


A very famous text and yet, in my humble opinion, an often misused text that can easily stoke my selfishness more than prioritize my perspectives. The priorities are right—seek FIRST God’s kingdom and His righteousness. I understand that; not that I have grasped it or accomplished it fully, but none the less, it’s the goal on which I keep my eyes fixed. I want to seek His kingdom and His righteousness more than anything. This world is not my home and with an eternal heavenly perspective I can more successfully see the big picture of how to relate to this world. I can’t fix the world, though I will still continue to do what I can to impact the world for good. I just don’t idealistically believe it can be fixed or made perfect within the power of humanity. But I can fix my eyes on God’s plans for this world- to redeem it, to restore it, and to reclaim it as His own, and that becomes my motivation and understanding on what can change and what needs to change.

And I can keep my eyes on Him and His righteousness and the potential available to me as I commit my life to Him. HIS righteousness, not mine, becomes the focus more and more and from that I gain an amazing degree of assurance, confidence, and directed priorities for my life. I’m good with seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, and again, not that I have attained either, but that I have set them as my focal points in life.

But the reward part, THAT can become troublesome at times. “And ALL THESE THINGS shall be added unto you.” What things? What do I get for “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness?” This is where my humanness can distract me, because what I think I need and what God knows I need don’t always match. I sometimes “seek His kingdom and His righteousness” SO THAT I can _____. You can probably fill in that blank like I can. Sometimes I complete the sentence with “so that I can, get an A in algebra, get a special friend, get a good job, get a new car, etc etc etc! And when I don’t get all those (or any of those) things I can start to doubt if it was worth “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness!” The “prosperity gospel” preached by some well-meaning (I hope) TV evangelists might suggest that if I “seek first…” I’ll get everything I want in life—new car, big new home, yacht, etc. Somehow that never seemed to ring true to me.

I have found peace and focus, however, by asking the question, “what things?” and answering it by looking at the context of Jesus’ saying. He’s preaching his famous “sermon on the mount,” and just before my text for today Jesus assures His listeners of three things that they don’t have to worry about:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Clothing

And then comes the “seek first… and all THESE things,” text. God, for me, is not a genie in a bottle that IF I seek Him first I’ll get what I want. He’s a loving and caring father who says, “if you focus on Me, I’ll take care of your needs. You don’t have to worry even about tomorrow (says the next text.) Tomorrow will even take care of itself. Just focus on Me and I’ll take care of you.” Maybe with an A in Algebra (if I also study!), maybe with a special friend (who by the way will more likely come into my life in a successful way if I am “seeking Him and not just a special friend!) I may get a good job or a new car, or whatever, IF any of that will help me accomplish His goal for me—to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness!” It’s all about focus and priorities as I continue to assess what I am “seeking first” in my life and why.


Have a great day prioritizing your life around Him. He’ll take care of the rest,

Pastor Rich


Quote for the day:      “What is more powerful than God, more evil than the devil, the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it you will die……?”


PS        Family Worship @ 7:30 in the church. Join us for a very special tradition at Union College- the hanging of the Golden Cords. This is the time we recognize all our student missionary and task force volunteers for their service by adding a golden cord to the display that is housed in the may lobby of the administration building. This year we’ll be honoring two years of volunteers (because we couldn’t do it last year!) Come out and show your appreciation for your peer’s year of service.


PPS Afterglo will happen in the Atrium with snacks, drinks, and fellowship activities.


PPPS    Answer to the “quote for the day”--- nothing!!