Seek First | A Kingdom of Good?

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

What is 'good' really? How do we define it? Can it be judged by others or simply by a Sovereign? Is it limited to the character within? Is it good works only? A hybrid of both? Is it honestly subject to our personal opinions or evaluations?

And for one familiar with the sacred text of Scripture, you could ask - why would I, someone who cares much about words, and God, and the Word of God, risk trading out the name God for the word good? Isn't that borderline sacrilege - simply for the sake of semantics? Well, truth be told - there are times where...semantics ARE important. There are times where, we all become so familiar with a word or a phrase, that it loses its currency with us for a time. The need for a new labeling, - to measure and feel the full weight of what is trying to be communicated, is...helpful. Some might take issue, saying that I have just said the name of God has lost its currency. However, I think God understood our need to change up names and words from time to time. Why do you think God gave Himself over 100 different names to refer to Himself as. Did He have an identity crisis? Not so much. One name, while above all, was not enough for us, to grasp the greatness of Him. Hence, the 100+ name count.

So - a "Kingdom of Good"...

First, I will go on record with millions before me in saying that, God IS good. That His very essence is good. That the Holy Spirit is good. And Jesus is good. Jesus' very presence on this earth was good.

Jesus made it clear, that if we sought first, the "kingdom of God" (and His righteousness), that "all these things" (the affairs of our lives and world perhaps?) will be taken care of. I think it is fair to say, that, we live in a world that not all needs ARE taken care of. And that can likely be attributed to the fact that, we are not all - seeking the kingdom of God. Seeking something, and seeing it come to pass are 2 very different things. As Donald Miller aptly said about Gandhi recently - it was not that Gandhi accomplished his goal, it was that he was willing to die trying. And die he did. I made a decision 25 years ago, that the hill I was willing to die on, was that of the gospel of Jesus would be communicated (in word and deed) more clearly in the age ahead.

So I started a communications practice at the onset of the internet boom, out of a garage converted into a home office (a cliche story I know), as a move to serve ministries that were heavily invested in serving their communities. Not much has changed since that time. Except virtually, everything.

Our world has since been flooded with communication over the last two decades, thanks to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Al Gore, and with that, awareness of the need for justice and humanitarian relief has grown exponentially. And with it, so has compassion fatigue.

However, for those who believe in the Bible, the scriptures tell us, "be not weary in well doing".

That alone right there is enough of a mandate not to allow compassion fatigue to drop us out of the work of justice in this world. But if you will go 'Old Testament' with me, God has something more to say about justice. It is enough to quiet the voices who decry social justice as merely a movement. It is the very heart of God, as spoken through his prophet Isaiah.

True and False Fasting

1“Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,a and oppress all your workers. 4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?

6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasurec on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure,d or talking idly;e 14 then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;f I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

This passage of Old Testament text, has gripped me for the better part of two decades. It has defined the kind of people and organizations I have chosen to work with. It will not release its hold on me. It has only strengthened with time. To the point at which, it has me feeling like I need to sacrifice my tools, burn them on an altar and walk in the direction of a new long obedience in one direction.

If you want to know why Seek First exists, then look no further.

The vision of Seek First is a 'kingdom of good', which is to say, a world where people live out of a heart of goodwill and love toward one another seeking freedom, relief, and justice for our fellow brothers and sisters...or in other words - our neighbors in need.

The bottom line is - while we may or may not see an end to injustice in our lifetime, I have determined I will die fighting for a world lived in service to one another, and in connected presence with one another. This is not merely taking up space alongside each other that I am talking about, having casual coffee meets that fail to plumb the deeper depths, but living in rich, meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship with one another that results in benefit for our brothers and sisters...for the benefit of all.

Will you join me - will you join in seeking first the heart of the Father humbly doing the work of justice in the world? We would count it an honor to come alongside you in your work to that end.

May the Shalom of the Father be yours. Seek First.

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