Are Kingdom Interests First in Your Life?
1 Jesus was willing to give his life on behalf of God’s Kingdom. When on trial for his life before Pilate he remained steadfast. (John 18:37) Even as he hung dying on the stake he highlighted God’s Kingdom as mankind’s hope, saying to the evildoer: “You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43.
2 We can understand why Jesus viewed the Kingdom as being so important. He had been sent from heaven to “bear witness to the truth” that God’s Kingdom would rule in righteousness and make it possible for His will to be done on earth as in heaven. What could bring greater joy than carrying out Jehovah’s will to transform the earth into the Paradise that was originally intended? And what a wonderful prospect Jesus held out—that of seeing all faithful and obedient mankind united in pure worship around the globe!
COUNTING THE COST
3 Following Jesus’ example in keeping Kingdom interests first is rarely easy. Priorities have to be established in the life of each follower of Christ. Jesus explained that he “came to start a fire on the earth” and that there would be divisions in families over the Kingdom issue.—Luke 12:49-53.
4 Imitating Jesus as an advocate of God’s Kingdom means carrying a “torture stake” and all that this involves. ‘Counting the cost’ means that a person must be prepared to say “good-bye” to his material belongings if they stand in the way of his service to God. (Luke 14:27, 28, 33) At the same time, Jesus encouraged all to be his followers and to share the good news with others. The attaining of everlasting life under Kingdom rule is worth any cost.—Matt. 13:44-46.
STOP BEING ANXIOUS
5 It is good to ask ourselves whether Kingdom interests are first in our life. Jesus explained: “No one can slave for two masters . . . You cannot slave for God and for Riches. . . . Stop being anxious about your souls as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear.” (Matt. 6:24, 25) Do we have sufficient faith in Jesus’ counsel to seek first the Kingdom, trusting that all these other things will be added? Or, are we ‘anxious about our souls’?
6 Do you frequently miss meetings or service activities of the congregation because of secular work, taking it for granted that you must comply with the demands of your employer? Some brothers have turned down higher paying jobs because the work schedule would interfere with theocratic activities. Many have found that employers will make concessions to accommodate employees who are dependable, willing workers. (Col. 3:23, 24) The congregation is strengthened in a fine way when elders, ministerial servants and pioneers set a good example in this regard.
7 Some of you young people will soon be out of school. Are you making plans now for a theocratic future? Some may intend to work for a short period and then take up pioneering. Why put off the opportunity to have a full share in Kingdom service in favor of accumulating material assets? Why not pursue first things first? If the Kingdom is first in your life, then why not pioneer first? When a secular job gets priority, there is a danger that your heart can become weighed down with anxieties that discourage pioneering.—Matt. 6:26; Luke 21:34.
8 This world has a way of requiring much from those who are willing to slave for it. Succumbing to the enticement of material advantages results in large debts, which require an ever-increasing income. How much better to trust in Jehovah who knows our needs and has promised to supply them. By keeping Kingdom interests first, our lives will have real purpose, strengthened by the prospect of endless future blessings.—Matt. 6:32; 1 Tim. 6:18, 19.