Back in the mid-1990’s, my children were the perfect age for the “Where’s Waldo?” books. Drove me nuts. Waldo frustrated the daylights out of me. Why can’t the man just stay in one place? It also occurs to me that no one has been looking for Waldo for a while. Maybe he got himself a GPS unit. Anyway, my kids loved the books. They would sift through tiny person upon tiny person, page after mind-numbing page until they found the lanky geek in the red-striped sweater and a knit cap. And, I have to admit, I was right there beside them, trying to act like I wasn’t really interested in finding him myself. But there was an undeniable thrill of accomplishment when you finally found him. It was the squeal of “There he is!” followed immediately by “Why didn’t I see him before?”
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said that we were to “seek first the kingdom.” He didn’t even say “seek revival,” but rather, seek the kingdom.” I always assumed that meant to seek first “the things of God.” I thought I should read a ministry book instead of a novel. Listen to Christian music, not secular. The problem is that I was equating the Church with the Kingdom, but the church is most definitely not the Kingdom. The Church is an agent of the Kingdom, but the Kingdom of God is much bigger than the Church. The Kingdom exists and even flourishes in places the Church has never been. So, to “seek first the Kingdom” has nothing to do with being enveloped in a religious atmosphere. So what did Jesus mean?
When Jesus said to seek the Kingdom, he was saying this: just look for it. Look for it everywhere. When I am seeking for something, it is usually not a casual glance around. If I have lost my car keys or my wallet or my sense of purpose, I get what women refer to as “Purse Panic” when they realize their purse is not where it is supposed to be. Sometimes I get “Purpose Panic,” when I have to stop and focus on what my life is to actually be about. But even when I am seeking something as small as my keys, I find myself in “seeker mode” until they are located. You know how people say, “It’s always in the last place you look?” Well, of course it is! Who’s going to keep looking after that?
If you happen to be around me when one of these panic sessions begins, you can immediately tell the value of the object I have lost by the level of desperation in my eyes. If it’s a pen that I have lost, you will hardly know it, I’ll be so calm. If it’s my iPhone, there better be a sedative and a defibrillator standing by. If it’s one of my children, I’ll be somewhere in the middle. But depending on what I have lost, my level of seeking adjusts itself accordingly.
This should give us some indication of just how valuable the Kingdom of God is to us. How desperately are we seeking to find and experience the rule and reign of God in every area of our lives? How closely are we trying to find where the Kingdom of God is active right now in politics, in economics, in entertainment, in education, in the family? Just how frantically are we chasing after, looking for, the manifested reality of the invisible in every moment of every day?
Paul prayed for the Epehsian believers’ eyes to be enlightened to see. May our Lord give you today eyes to see, and a passion to seek His Kingdom.
(Excerpted from A New Normal: Experiencing the Unstoppable Move of God, forthcoming from Destiny Image Publishing)