“But seek ye first the Kingdom of G-d…” What does this saying of Yeshua mean? He goes on to say that “…all these things shall be added unto you.” The things that shall be “added” are everyday material concerns such as employment, clothing, food, friends etc. and Yeshua is saying that if we seek first the Kingdom of G-d, then everything else will come about of its own accord. We need not preoccupy ourselves with it. He says further “Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take take thought for things of itself.” In other words, things will work out as they should for the one who seeks first the kingdom of G-d…
But to a man who said he would follow him where ever he went, Yeshua replied somewhat discouragingly that, while the foxes have holes and the birds had nests, he had nowhere to lay his head (like his forerunner John, who lived in the desert, Yeshua was homeless during the years of his ministry). To the man who said he would follow him after he said goodbye to his family, he replied that no one who puts his hand to the plough or looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of G-d. So when Yeshua says that “all these things will be added unto you”, he is not promising a life of prosperity and security. On the contrary, none of his disciples had lives of prosperity and security, and most died cruel deaths. In the third temptation Yeshua refuses to worship the tempter in return for dominion over the material world, i.e. he refuses to strike the very bargain that some claim is the bargain that G-d offers to strike with us. The implication is that whoever offers material gain as a reward is not the true G-d, but the G-d of this world, the tempter of the temptations, the one to whom Faust traded his soul. And whoever chases material gain is not following G-d…
We must reject as false the most popular notion that Christianity involves entering into a contract with G-d whose terms are that if we behave piously he will grant us prosperity and security in any material sense. Anyone who believes that they have come to such an arrangement with G-d is mistaken – G-d isn’t in the business of trading self-serving for salvation, his business his trading self-denial for salvation. We are not here to be wealthy or to cut a figure in this world, or even to be happy. Rather we are here to seek the other-world, and to invite others to do the same. If we fail to do this, or if we attempt to bargain with G-d -“G-d, I promise I will go to church/temple etc. if you will promise to provide me prosperity and security”- we have not grasped the central idea of Judeo-Christianity, i.e. that the material world is a corrupt, inferior reality, from which we need deliverance. “It is easier,” Yeshua said, “for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of G-d,” and these words are as true today as they were when they were spoken. They will always be true. Shameful Anti-Christians are TV evangelists such as Benny Hinn, Jesse Duplantis, and Joyce Meyer:
Years ago they used to preach, ‘O we are going to walk on streets of gold.’ I would say, ‘I don’t need the gold up there. I’ve got to have it down here.
I’ve never had the Lord say, ‘Jesse, I think that car is a little bit too nice.’ I’ve had vehicles and the Lord said, ‘Would you please go park that at your house. Don’t put that in front of my house. I don’t want people to think that I’m a poor G-d.
Joyce Meyer on owning a private jet:
There’s no need for us to apologize for being blessed.
Yeshua ben Yosef:
I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of G-d.
Yeshua ben Yosef:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…
No story illustrates the human predicament more poignantly than the story of Faust’s pact with the devil. There are numerous such tales and in all of them Faust, or a Faustian figure, desires some ultimate power, and to possess this power must exchange something of even greater value, most usually his soul. Although he is a clever man, Faust arrogantly and foolishly decides that the exchange can be made to work to his advantage. Ultimately he discovers that he has been deceived: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, the question was asked by Yeshua, yet forfeit his soul?”. The moral of the Faust story is that worldly power comes at a cost, and at a cost which exceeds the value of the thing being purchased. That Faust must lose his soul to gain the things that he wants, illustrates the inversely proportional relationship Yeshua taught there is between material and spiritual prosperity:
…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of G-d.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
We switch now from the story of Faust to the story of Yeshua. Yeshua is the reverse of Faust. Whereas Faust represents the man who would be as G-d, Yeshua represents the G-d who would be as man. Whereas Faust strikes a deal with the devil in order in increase his worldly power, Yeshua steadfastly refuses the devil’s offer of worldly power. Faust is given by the devil what he thinks he wants, but in the end becomes exactly like the man in Yeshua’s cautionary tale – he gains the whole of the world but forfeits his soul. Following the reverse pathway again, Yeshua deliberately sacrifices the worldly element of himself. If Faust represents the impotence of the power-seeker to stem the evil tide and to unify himself -if Faust represents man as he is in his fallen state- Yeshua represents the means by which the natural direction of human life towards disintegration can be reversed. Man is like a creature holed up in a dim enclosure situated in a meadow of light. The door of the enclosure is sealed and the windows are narrow slits through which light can barely penetrate. If the enclosure could be torn down, light will pour upon that creature the windows because it is the nature of light to go wherever it encounters no blockage. The man of the world, represented by Yeshua, mistakes the enclosure for reality and wants to build and secure his enclosure; the man of G-d, represented by Yeshua, knows that the kingdom of light lies outside the enclosure…
Our view of the Kingdom of G-d is akin to a view of the light glimpsed through the narrow slits of the enclosure. So long as we pursue material goals, a mere glimpse of reality as G-d knows it is all we are ever going to get. This is an unpopular conception of Christianity
to be ignored, countered by other less demanding scriptures, or explained away as inapplicable to the modern world. But the central theme of Yeshua’s lifestyle and teaching -the unifying motif- is that there is an inversely proportional relationship between the material and the spiritual: the larger our footprint in this world, the smaller will be our footprint in the Kingdom of G-d.