Seek Ye First the Kingdom Of Zach
Last week my family went skiing and my son skied his first black diamond. Since we’ve been back, I have shared that fact with dozens of people — anyone who will listen, really. I’m eager to brag on my son. In fact, it occurs to me that I would rather see him do well than myself. I wonder if this is one of the ways that parenting becomes a good discipleship tool, because the same pattern should be present in my relationship with God, though in reverse order. In my relationship with Zach, I, the father, prefer my son’s success to my own. In my relationship with God, I, the son, must prefer the Father's fame over my own.
Yesterday's entry in the IBC Lent Guide encouraged us to meditate on the line of the Lord’s Prayer that says, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” I thought of the command Jesus gave just a few paragraphs after offering that prayer: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.”
I have been quick to share Zach’s mountaintop glory with anyone who will listen, but am I quick to share my Father’s glory?
Ironically, the very day after we returned from skiing, I was scheduled to stand in front of the congregation at IBC and offer prayers on their behalf. Standing in the crowd that morning, the insecure part of me — the part that wants to seek first my own kingdom and protect my own reputation — was nervous. I kept thinking, “Your prayer life isn’t that great, Sanders. What gives you the right to pray on behalf of all these people?”
But the part of me that wants to have a model prayer life for others to envy is not the part of me that is surrendered to the Father’s kingdom. And when I let the Holy Spirit answer those fears, I was reminded of the truth Zach’s skiing reminds me of: this isn’t about me. If I really desire God's name and renown, then I stop seeking to protect my own reputation. If I really seek first his kingdom, I think less of my own.
The mark of a father is his deep desire to see his child flourish. The mark of a child of God is his deep desire to see his Father’s kingdom flourish.
Lord, make us better parents to make us better children.