Monday, September 27, 2010

Seek First

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"  Matthew 6:33

Sometimes I get hit with these feelings of inadequacy.   Lately it seems that we've been hearing story after story of someone in need.  Every other day, someone we know or meet is going through a rough time and it would be so wonderful to just be able to bless them with a gift card for gas or groceries.  Or I hear story after story of orphanages and troubled nations and missionaries needing funding, and my heart just wants to open up and give to them all.  The other day I very vividly was thinking about going grocery shopping for another family, and was trying to figure out what would be the perfect pair of grocery bags to bless someone with- what would I want in them?  The reality for us though is that we cannot give in most of these instances.  We simply don't have the finances to afford to do them, and it's beyond frustrating.

Usually when I'm thinking things like this, I spend time talking to God about it, telling Him that it's really bothersome to me to have these feelings of compassion, these feelings of wanting to do something when we really truly cannot.  And I pray that things will change.

When the earthquake hit the country of Haiti, and there were all these photos of children in orphanages, struggling with buildings collapsing and other things, my momma heart just wanted to call whoever I needed to in order to bring a few of those orphans home to me.  My heart literally cried out for these children, and when all I could do was pray for them, I felt like it kind of broke a little bit.  And yet, my heart is softened now towards the country of Haiti- and in particular, the orphans there.  It could very well be that someday, God will make a way there, and it could very well be that I have children alive and well in Haiti- just needing their mommy.   Yet the whole idea of even thinking about adding to our family in that way brings up situations and dollar signs that are completely laughable right now.  So I pray.  And I read my Bible.  And I find verses like the one above that gives my heart a much-needed boost.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"

You know what that says to me?  Seek God first.  And righteousness.  Do you know, all those feelings I have of wanting to help, of compassion and a desire to reach out are part of learning to be righteous.  I want things to be right- I don't want people to be suffering and in need- and I want them to know the love that God  has for them.  And it tells  me that maybe I am on the right track.  I'm allowing my heart to be opened up to the idea of helping those in need in many different situations.  And when the time is right, I do believe that God will open up the floodgates and provide what we need to be a blessing to others.  Maybe right now is not the time for us to be that source of provision for someone else.  Maybe right now, our focus should be on Him and what He would have us do.  I was just talking with someone yesterday about how when you can't do someone for someone, and their need has been brought to your attention, it must mean that we are supposed to spend some time praying for them.  Give them a few precious minutes of our day in prayer- and start by giving that way.

Huh, imagine that.  Start giving to others by giving of your time. You know, they may never even know that you've been praying for them.  But you know who knows?  God, of course.  What could be better than that?  Not only do you get to act on someone else's behalf, but you get to do so by spending time talking to God about them.  Now that's a win-win situation.  Would it be nice to be able to load up the van with groceries and make a delivery?  Yes, it would.  Oh, it would be wonderful to be able to do that.  But since we cannot right now, we need to take baby steps and start where we can.   And as we seek Him, and find favor with Him, I believe that the days will come where we will be able to help others with more than our prayer time.

But that prayer time is such a wonderful start.  It draws us closer to God, and when He acts on behalf of those we are praying for, we hopefully will get to see the fruit of those prayers.  We'll get to hear the praise reports of the job that someone got or of the substantial raise they got at work.  We have to start somewhere.  I think that if we focus on all the need around us, and how we can't do anything, it could lead us down a path mentally that we don't want to be in.  So instead, I will follow the advice given in my Bible.  Seek Him first, and His righteousness.  And if we can do that, if we can manage to learn to pray for those who God has put in our hearts to pray for, He will open up doors of possibility for us in the future.

It's also important to remember that God has us exactly where He wants us.  So as we look around and we hear about all this need around us, it can make us frustrated to not be able to do anything.  Sort of a, why did you bring us here God if we can't do anything about it?  Why did you bring these people into our lives if we can't help them out?  Frustration is what the devil wants us to feel.  What God wants us to feel is compassion.  And He wants us to spend time in prayer for that person- for that person who maybe is in such a state of despair that they can't even pray for themselves anymore.  That's why those people and those situations are  in our hearts.  It's for us to love them in whatever way we can- and sometimes, the best way to show that love is to give up some of our precious time and spend time on our knees specifically for them.  

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"

I will seek Him first, and leave the rest up to Him. 

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