“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
I’m telling stories of how God provided for Lesley and me as we tried to “seek first his kingdom”.
In December 1977, we had our first child and agreed together that Lesley wouldn’t return to her work as a teacher. She wanted to give as much as she could to our children while they were small. We respected the fact that this wouldn’t be everyone’s choice, and we knew that for some people it wasn’t an option, but it was our personal conviction. For us, it was part of “seeking first the kingdom of God.”
Another of our convictions was to give regularly to the church. Unlike the decision over work, we saw this as a fundamental aspect of Christian discipleship. Jesus told his disciples:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6)
We did this by tithing every month (giving 10% of our income to church), and usually gave additional offerings on top. On paper we could just afford it. I had a stable job as a teacher, but it didn’t bring an especially high salary, and there wasn’t much to spare. However, this was another way we were seeking the kingdom “first” and we were determined to persevere.
For the next few years, things were very tight financially, but each month we got through.
One day I got a cheque in the post from the Inland Revenue. It was a return of overpaid tax. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was quite small, just a pound or so. Without thinking any more about it, I put it in the bank.
At the end of each month when I got my bank statement, I used to go through all our spending. It turned out that the cheque was just enough to avoid us going into “the red” at the end of the month. In fact, if I hadn’t banked it promptly, we would certainly have gone into the red, because it arrived close to the end.
This was a massive encouragement! The God who made the world cares enough to look after our needs! It was just a little, but it was exactly what we needed. We were strengthened to continue to put God first in our use of money.
Later we would have much bigger financial challenges, but this “just a little” helped us to face them. I’ve written about some of these challenges in other posts.
For many years we never went into the red, though still living on just my income. Much later, with the effects of high mortgage rates, we had a period when we did go overdrawn at the bank for a while, with no short-term way of resolving it. Even then, God made a way for us, dealing with the shortfall and providing for our housing needs. But that’s another story.