"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..."
About a year and a half ago in May of 2004, I bought 4.5 acres of land halfway between Grand Rapids (where the believers are) and where I work. I would have a 20 minute drive to work and "only" a 20 minute drive to see believers. I had talked everything over with several of the brothers here and instead of living right in the town where I work, I decided to "sacrifice" so that I could be close to believers. I was seeking first his kingdom...
The house that we built was the perfect house for us. It had open spaces to promote togetherness in our family. We designed it so that we could have lots of people over for fellowship and even put a large parking pad on the side of the driveway. (By large, I mean large enough to hold about 10 cars.) I had all kinds of ideas of how living in the country would be good for my children; from raising chickens to chopping wood, I was going to teach them responsibility. We were seeking first his kingdom...
By the time the house was ready, one year ago, in December of 2004..... God made it clear to us that we should SELL it! "Oh no", was my initial reaction. Furthermore, God made it clear that we should move the city of Grand Rapids to be very near the believers. "Oh no." I didn't like the city! And I certainly didn't want a 40 minute commute to work. It was as if God was saying, "Nice try; you were trying to seek first my kingdom, but since your heart is right I'm going to lead you in such a way that you can seek first my kingdom the way I want you to."
I learned quite a bit about seeking first God's kingdom. Even though I thought that I had God's best in mind, I didn't go far enough. By May of 2005 God brought us to where we currently live--right in the city of Grand Rapids, about 2 miles from downtown. This was the last place I wanted to live.
But by the end of the summer, God had moved upon the other believers here to want to live closer together. And now we all live within 3 or 4 blocks of each other. Close proximity has really helped us to carry out sharing life ("fellowship") with one another in real, practical ways (see "Practical Daily Life in the Kingdom" Part 1 and Part 2 for examples).
And now, I really enjoy living here in the city! Wow! I am so surprised. But I have this strange peace and joy. I really like this house! But I NEVER would have designed a house like this. This is NOT what I THOUGHT I would like. But God knows best, that's for sure.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov 3:5-6).
I had a lot to learn about what seeking first God's kingdom meant in that situation. And I suspect I have a lot more to learn!
Whoever is reading this, would you consider one thing? Do you go all out in pursuing the will of God? Empty yourself of your own thoughts and preferences and see if there's more for God to show you. You just might be surprised.