If we postpone that Kingdom to heaven, or separate it from our daily work and duties, then we have seriously altered the purpose and vitality of our prayers. The holy urgency of God’s Kingdom is then replaced with our trifles. This does not mean that our trifles have no place in prayer, but their place is in terms of the priority of God’s Kingdom. Apart from post-millennialism, that urgency is altered and replaced.
We know the world is occupied with everything but God’s Kingdom. Even in the church itself we see a preoccupation with trifles more so than concerns for the Lord’s battles. If the Kingdom of God is not foremost on our minds, the end result is a prioritizing of lesser matters that make little to no difference in establishing the rule of God.
If we truly make the Kingdom first in our lives, then it becomes the ruling idea driving all that we do, think, and say. To seek first the Kingdom of God is not beginning the day with some form of devotion, nor is it giving the first fruits of your paycheck in the offering plate. To seek first the Kingdom is to truly trust in God:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)
Our Lord admonishes His hearers to be unconcerned with essential needs such as food and clothing. This does not mean we don’t do the work necessary to clothe and feed ourselves. The issue is what occupies our hearts, minds, worries, and fears. God wants us to trust only in Him and nothing else. Worry, for example, is the result of misplaced trust. We worry because we believe we are subject to nature and not the providence of God.
The Providence of God
God’s providence has as its goal the Kingdom of God. True prayer has as its great cry, “Thy Kingdom come!” Prayer, said Calvin, takes us into the very “presence of his providence.” Thus, the more we grow in grace and prayer, the more deeply our daily lives move in terms of the providence of God. This means that we self-consciously become agents of His government: we become the governed of God, instruments of His word and Spirit, who exercise dominion with holiness, righteousness, and knowledge. The Spirit prays within us (Rom. 8:26) in terms of these things, so that the Spirit and our heart cry out, “The Kingdom come!”
History is governed by God’s providence, and the goal of God’s providence is the Kingdom of God, viz., the victory of His Son who has all power in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18). And we interact with the outworking of God’s will in history through faith, prayer, sanctification, and our praxis. But these must also focus on the very goal of God’s providence namely the Kingdom of God.
Humanistic man cares nothing about providence but is driven to understand all that he can about nature itself—befuddled over the purpose of fleas or cockroaches while driven to scrape dirt on Mars in hopes of finding microscopic forms of life. We should be that driven as it relates to God’s Kingdom and be completely abandoned to that purpose. Our Lord describes creation as operating in this way.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (Matt. 6:26)
If the fowls of the air worried about their provision, they could not perform their function in God’s creation. The birds are not sowing and reaping. They are abandoned to the purposes for which they are created, and as they are “about their Father’s business,” their food is laid out for them. God says we are much better than them, and our worry about provision should be driven out of our hearts and minds by an abandonment to God’s purposes.
As our Lord says, the Gentiles “seek” after these things (food and raiment, Matt. 6:32), but we must seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness knowing that all those things which the Gentiles seek after will be added to us (Matt. 6:33).
To Hear and Understand the Word of the Kingdom
The way in which the world occupies itself with provisional concerns as well as the pursuit of riches is the way in which we should be occupied with God’s Kingdom. We know to what level the world pursues needs and greeds, but how concerned are we with Christ’s advancing Kingdom?
The parable of the sower is the litmus test for all of this because it reveals our response to the “word of the Kingdom” over time:
18. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matt. 13:18-23)
It’s they who both hear the word, and understand it, who will bear the fruit of that word which means the ongoing growth of the Kingdom of God. It’s those who don’t hear that Satan robs of their understanding. It’s those who can’t stand in the face of resistance to Christian dominion who forsake their purpose. And it’s those who are consumed with worries or riches that are unable to bear fruit.
It is therefore our primary calling to preach and teach the firstness of the Kingdom of God in order that men might hear and understand so as to bear a hundredfold. This is the purpose of Christian education whether delivered through the family, the church, the school, or other Christian ministry.
In our case, Chalcedon is a ministry devoted to the word of the Kingdom, and all our efforts are directed at helping Christians hear, understand, and obey that word so as to produce abundant fruit for God’s Kingdom.
Your prayers and financial support for this mission are greatly appreciated.
 R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), p. 154.
- Chalcedon Editorial