Seek First Whose Kingdom?

Ruins of a 4th century limestone synagogue built on the basalt foundation of the 1st century synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus taught.

I love these words about how surrendering what we possess is the only way to possess them…

“Now he finds that only what he gives up, he possesses, but is no longer possessed by. For only as this re-enthronement of the living God strips the auxiliary functions of his life of their claims for absolute priority, only then do these functions disclose to him their true nature.” (Steere, Douglas. Work & Contemplation. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, p. 53).

We can only truly enjoy what we surrender. Otherwise, we tend to be possessed by what we grasp with white knuckles. When we truly seek first God, His reign and His goodness in everything, we are finally able to fully enjoy everything for the first time. To whatever degree we make an idol of a possession, a dream, a pursuit or any element of our work, to that degree it ceases to be the gift of God that it actually is. Turning anything into an idol makes it something it can never be in Reality.

“Kierkegaard once declared that to anyone less than God, one dare not give oneself utterly, whether it was to a woman, or a family, or an institution, or a nation, these creaturely objects of devotion would invariably be corrupted by such absolute submission and in turn would be almost bound to exploit the giver as well. Utter self-donation to God, on the contrary, is the one situation where a man and his gifts are received and returned to the giver cleansed of their former claims to be the final goal and now blessed and ordered for true service.” (Steere, Douglas. Work & Contemplation. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, p. 54-55).

We can never give ourselves too much to God. We can give ourselves too much to another person though. Douglas Steere says things so cleanly and well. Thank You, Father, for how You spoke through his writings. Thank You for bringing him across my path some time back.

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