My senior year in high school ended with a trip to London—a gift from my aunt who has lived there her entire adult life. Together, a friend and I arrived in England for a week of exploration.
You’d think we’d have taken the opportunity to visit historic sites, tour the royal residences, and glean fascinating information from museums. But we were teenagers, uninterested in such official tour-guided things. We wanted nothing more than just to watch movies and walk the streets aimlessly for hours at a time, ducking into little boutiques and candy shops.
We didn’t have much money, just enough to catch the bus to and from my aunt’s home, then buy a ticket to see a film at the theatre in Piccadilly Circus. After one of those movies, we walked into the donut shop across the street (as if we needed more sugar) and ordered our favorite chocolate-filled, glazed sweets. I walked up to the register while fishing around in my purse for a few dollars to pay. But as I pulled out my wallet and looked inside, I was shocked. There was no money in it. The dollars we had exchanged for British pounds earlier in the day were missing.
Assuming they had merely fallen out in my purse, I kept digging and searching—in and out of pockets, deep into the bottom of my bag. Nothing.
My friend, conscious of the line forming behind us, jumped to the front in a heroic attempt to save me from embarrassment, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” She reached into her purse and pulled out her wallet, only to make her own shocking discovery as well.
Her money was missing too.
We’d been robbed.
Apparently, during the movie, the sneaky thieves had lain down on the floor behind our row in the darkened theater, and quietly pulled our bags from beside our feet while we were engrossed in the movie. Then, as if to mock us even more, they’d removed our wallets, taken out the cash, returned the wallets to their proper place, and then pushed the purses back to their positions beside us. They knew they’d be halfway home before we ever became aware of what had happened.
If only we’d kept our bags in our laps instead of on the floor. If only we’d held them close to us instead of taking our hands and eyes off of them. If only we had prioritized their placement and meticulously selected their position, this robbery would never have happened.
Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness . . . Matt 6:33
Seeking God’s Kingdom, honoring His Word, desiring to see His will done on earth just as it is happening in heaven – none of these are my problem. But seeking them first often is. With my attention turned toward other things, distracted and sway by the lights and glamor of other loves, I loosen my grip on the very entity that holds more value than all the others combined. I don’t totally disregard it. It’s still near – just not in my hands or tucked in the epi-center of my heart; it’s not poised squarely in my focus.
And that . . . that . . . is right where the Enemy doesn’t mind it being.
With me . . . but not first with me.
Just in the periphery, floating out on the margins of my list of priorities and exposed to his sinister tactics, he robs me blind – stealing away all the things that the Kingdom was designed to give . . . and, in the end, all of the things that had distracted me away from it in the first place.
He leaves me empty, unfulfilled and impoverished.
We’ve become an easy target. Hoodwinked, Bamboozled. Pick-pocketed by a sinister culprit who has slipped our opportunity for abundant life right out of from under our noses—a peace and joy reserved for all of God’s children. And, the worst part is, we often don’t even know it’s missing until one day when everything begins to unravel – stressing us out, overwhelming us. Frustrated, we reach down into our internal reserves to pull out the deep-rooted characteristics we need to sustain us through the difficult seasons, and we’re shocked to find that we’re running on empty. The currency we need for living life well has been stolen right out from under our nose.
If only we’d take back the reigns, regain control, and get the very thing we have been commissioned and commanded to value off the floor and back into the center of our attention. Maybe then it won’t be such a cinch for our enemy to do his dirty work.
And, even more than that, we’ll find that our new priority comes with a benefits package that is stocked with a slew of profits that are beyond our wildest imaginations:
“ . . . and all these things will be added unto you.” – Matt 6:33
Hmmm. These things.
All of them . . .
. . . and then some.
Just for seeking the most important one . . . first.