Strive for the Kingdom
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31-34)
As we anticipate the new year, perhaps a new life or a return to the normality of life, let’s look back on 2020. It has been one of the most difficult years, affecting all lives… health, business, employment, politic, school, church, family, travel, relationship and so forth…everywhere. In time of trials and desperation, many looked for their own way or take matters into their own hands and ignore what was best for all. Not everyone agreed to or welcomed the Governor’s Safe at Home Order or the Bishop’s recommendation for suspending in-person worship. With the pandemic, the election and racial injustice, the year brought more sufferings, griefs and divisiveness than any other year in my 42 years of life as a citizen of this country, and perhaps, in our church and family life.
Looking forward to 2021, I hope and pray for a better tomorrow. I will be open to Bishop Jung’s vision for radical inclusion and racial justice in the life of our church and nation. There will still be worries, concerns with food and shelter, health and suffering, church and denominal division, racial injustice and radical inclusion, division and the uncertain future. But we are told, “Do not worry about tomorrow,” for God will take care of tomorrow for us. All that God asks from us in the New Year is to "strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all (will be well) these things will be given to you as well."
I think there is benefit for us to meditate on what it means for us to strive first for the Kingdom of God for this coming year. Perhaps, it is God asking for us to put our trust in God’s care and healing for us, or for us to make God’s priorities and vision our priorities and vision, or to live in peace and be reconciled with one another as we live and serve God in the world. For John Wesley, this also means for us "to do no harm, do good, and to live in love with God and our neighbors." I pray that we will strive for these noble things as we meditate on how to live and make our resolutions for the New Year.
Creator of heavens and earth, you give us the seasons and the days, the months and the years, for us to live. Forever we are grateful. Thank you even for this difficult year of 2020 and for the blessing of the coming year. Bless us with your vision about how we can strive and live for your kingdom in our lives and for your church and the world. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.