Christ, Christian Life, Church Life, The Church

The Economy of Need Pt. 1: Seeking the Kingdom

Are you in need?  What does that even mean?  I’m sure it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  I know I’ve said that before: “We’re in need of ______” fill in the blank.  But what is need?  What does it mean to need something?  These are some of the thoughts I’ve been walking through lately, and I’d like to invite you along for the ride.  So, I’ve prepared a series of posts on need.  I think, though, that when we’re said and done, we’ll find that these posts were really about what (hopefully) all of our posts are about: Jesus Christ.

I’d like to start by looking at need as it relates to the Kingdom of God, as mentioned by the Word of God Himself in Matthew 6.  Jesus specifically addresses two needs: nourishment and clothing.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” ~ Matt. 6:25

Need: Nourishment

Food and drink – a couple of pretty important things for survival, right?  The same holds true in the Kingdom of God.  Witness Lee called those of us in Christ “kingdom people”.  As kingdom people, we are not to worry about even these basic needs.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” ~ Matt. 6:26-27

Let’s go a little deeper into how the Father feeds His kingdom people.  What makes us kingdom people in the first place?  Well, to begin with, we are in the all-inclusive Christ, who is the kingdom of God.  As such, we are then filled with the Holy Spirit or indwelled by the very life of Christ.  As such, we have the divine life of the Father as our strength, and He is the One who cares for our material need.  God, who brought us into existence in the first place (our anxiety did not), is our source of strength and supply.  We are well cared for.

More specifically, with what are we fed in this kingdom?  Let’s go again to the Word Himself and see what He has to say about it in John.

  •  4:7-14 – Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that He has living water to give, and in verse 14 He says, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thrist; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
  • 6:26-29 – Jesus tells the people to work for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give.  He then says that the work of God to obtain this food is to believe in Him whom God has sent.
  • 6:30-35 – Jesus tells the people who have been asking for a sign like the manna in the wilderness that His Father was the One who gave that bread and gives the true bread from heaven, the bread that comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.  When they asked for this true bread, Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”
  • 6:48-58 – Jesus tells the Jews who have been grumbling about what He’s already said that He is the bread of life (v. 48), He is the living bread that came down out of heaven (v. 51), and the bread that He gives for the life of the world is His own flesh (v. 51).  This really puts the Jews in a tizzy, and Jesus tells them quite plainly, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (v. 53)

Therefore, the food and drink in the Kingdom of God is Christ Himself.  We eat and drink of Him.  The Father gives Him freely to His kingdom people, and we have no cause for want or weakness.  Christ is our nourishment.

Need: Clothing

Clothing is another pretty basic need, even in the Kingdom of God.  Again, Jesus asks us why we are so worried about it.

“And why are you worried about clothing?  Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?  You of little faith!” ~ Matt. 6:28-30

So, as kingdom people, what do we wear?  What is the garb of this Kingdom of God?  I believe the apostle Paul can help with this one.

  • Romans 13:14 – Paul says to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ…”  In other words, we live by Christ (Gal. 2:20), we live out Christ (Phil. 1:21), and we thus magnify Christ (Phil. 1:20).
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 – Paul says to “put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteosness and holiness of truth.” (V. 24) This new man is the likeness of God, or according to God.  We take of our old garment, the old self or man, and we put on the new man – Jesus Christ.
  • Colossians 3:1-11 – Paul again says to put on the new self, or man.  This new man has characteristics that are completely other than our old man.  This new man is a person – Jesus Christ.

We could go on and on with many different things Paul says to put on, but they all point back to one person – Jesus Christ.  Christ is the embodiment of the full armor of God (Eph. 6), the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5), love (1 Cor. 13), faith (Heb. 11), hope (Rom. 8), and any other thing you wish to separate from Him.  Therefore, Christ is our clothing in the Kingdom of God.  We wear Christ.  Again, the Father gives Him freely to His kingdom people so we have no want for what to wear.  Christ is the nature of the Kingdom of God.  Christ is our clothing.

Seek First

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’

“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~ Matt. 6:31-33

If we are kingdom people, then let us live as kingdom people.  Let us not be concerned with what we will eat or drink, or with what we will wear.  We have a heavenly Father who called us and chose us to be in this kingdom, and He will provide everything we need for living in it.  All we “need” to do is continually seek His kingdom and His righteousness (both Christ), and He will not only give us all of that, but all that we need will be added to us.  Amen.

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13 Comment

  1. Reply
    Steve
    February 3, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Good post R.C.

    Off the point here, but your blog post brought it to mind…last year I was doing some teaching on giving. One thing that stood out is that the Bible over and over says that we are to be content with food and clothing. Paul says it. Moses writes about it while the Jews are in the desert (manna every day and their clothes never wore out). Jesus says it. But, isn’t it fascinating that we are never told to be content with any kind of shelter. Of course, Jesus never had a place to lay His head while on this earth either. And, Paul was a tent maker.

    1. Reply
      R.C. Babione
      February 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you, Steve, for reading and commenting. I don’t think your comment is off point at all. The need of shelter is on my “to-do list” for this blog post series. I believe it is fascinating indeed, particularly in light of what Jesus said in this passage in Matthew. This would have been a perfect opportunity to address shelter, too, right? Then again, His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Reply
    KENNETH DAWSON
    February 3, 2015 at 8:07 am

    tHE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT WE CAN TRUST HIM WITH EVERYTHING–WE MAY NOT UNDERSTAND HOW OR WHY BUT WE CAN RELY UPON HIM

    1. Reply
      R.C. Babione
      February 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      I believe that is called faith. 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Reply
    miltrodriguez
    February 3, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Great post brother! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Reply
      R.C. Babione
      February 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  4. Reply
    Amanda Iosa
    February 3, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Beautiful truth. Really love this, post, but just being honest, as someone on a crazy-tight budget, the subject of physical needs is a bit dicey. I guess part of the trouble is the blurred line between needs and desires. I’m not talking food, clothing and shelter versus a new iPhone, but those times when the basic needs are technically met, but what is given is undesirable or inadequate. It’s a challenge to accept what is when there seems to be a true “need” of a slight upgrade in circumstances. I guess the manna gets hard to stomach after a long time, and for some reason, it’s still all that’s being given.

    Spiritually, the abundance in Christ is mind-blowing. What a source, what a supply! At least for me personally, He is becoming more and more to me all the time, and He’s replaced most other desires or supposed “needs” that I have. In a lot of ways, He is more than enough, and satisfies deeply. I have what I need to survive, even if it’s not by much. I’m grateful. I’ve never actually gone without basic needs. There are many who haven’t had the privilege of saying that. It’s just a real challenge sometimes to reconcile this “needs” stuff.

    What if Father doesn’t provide? What is a person to say then? What about poverty and homelessness? Where is the supply? I’m just “thinking out loud” here. I agree and believe and profess all that you said above, but what are we to make of the lack we see everywhere if Christ is an inexhaustible supply? What happened to having just…enough? I know, it’s a big can of worms, and too big for a blog post, but I figured I’d throw it out there. Looking at it all with spiritual eyes, it makes more sense, but there still seems to be a chasm between spiritual abundance and physical reality, even for “Kingdom people.”

    1. Reply
      Amanda Iosa
      February 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Well, I was still revising this when my tablet posted it as-is. Oh well, it’s raw and honest. I’ll lay my worries about what others think down at the foot of the Cross. God doesn’t have to always make sense for me to love, follow, and delight in Him. And I think I probably trust Him more than I think I do.

      1. Reply
        R.C. Babione
        February 3, 2015 at 1:47 pm

        Dear sister, thank you for sharing. I appreciate your rawity* (making up words?) and honesty. You brought up some of the very concerns I have when it comes to this thought of need. I realize that this post is very “heavenly”; there are not a lot of “practical” outworkings here. If I were to address those, too, this would have been a marathon post. I hope to address some of the more practical things in coming posts. Our Lord is way more practical than we believe, and He has practical outworkings concerning need in His kingdom, too. Praise God He doesn’t have to always make sense for us to love, follow, and delight in Him!

        Please know that I hear you, sister. Hopefully I’ll get to address some of these things soon. Thank you so much for sharing!

        *The proper word here would have been rawness, but I prefered the new word. 🙂

        1. Reply
          Amanda Iosa
          April 18, 2015 at 9:15 am

          Hi Brother! I’ve been thinking about the comments I made on these posts a couple of months ago. Thanks for posting these. They were pieces in the Lord’s puzzle that’s creating a big shift in me. I’m not totally worry free, (who is?) but things are worlds apart from when I posted my comments. Everything you said here is utterly true. It’s a journey walking with the Lord into what already is. He has it all taken care of, and we (hopefully) are walking hand-in-hand with the One who is the answer to everything we need.
          Amanda Iosa recently posted…Adventures In Christ-induced Writer’s BlockMy Profile

  5. Reply
    Joshua Lawson
    February 3, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    This is wonderful from my perspective, as one with a roof over his head and food on his table, but I wonder what it would mean to the homeless guy on the street who went to bed hungry tonight. I do, however, appreciate your comment to Amanda and look forward to any practicals you may have to share, R.C.
    Joshua Lawson recently posted…What do you do when Kingdoms collide?My Profile

  6. Reply
    Ben H
    February 13, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I’m writing this after reading your second post, which was fantastic! To add a little to Amanda’s comment, I’ve struggled with financial supply and how to understand it. For a period, I was on an extremely tight budget and the only way to pay for my basic needs was to use my credit card. I often wonder how to reconcile that with the idea that God supplies all our needs. On the one hand, the credit card could have been God’s way of supplying my needs. Should I thank God that I had access to credit? On the other hand, the Bible seems to say a fair bit about not going into debt, albeit mostly in the Old Testament. I’ll have to pay back what I borrowed with interest. I don’t expect you to have a specific answer, it was more of a comment on my own experiences.
    Ben H recently posted…You Think That’s Food You’re Eating?My Profile

  7. […] were a lot of great comments on part one of this series; I really appreciate your feedback and thoughts.  Please don’t hesitate to […]

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