Matthew 6:33

From The Kingdom series.
We need to read around this verse a bit.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

(Mt 6:33)

Matthew 6:19–24 (HCSB)

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures  on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven,  where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness! 

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money. 

Matthew 6:25–34 (HCSB)

“This is why I tell you:  Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?  Can any of you add a single cubit to his height  by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!  If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?  So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters  eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God  and His righteousness,  and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own

What do I notice here?

  • Do not worry about your life (eat/drink) or body (clothing).
  • God provides these things.
  • God values you.
  • Little Faith = inability to trust in God’s provision.
  • In fact it is idolatry to seek these (physical) things.
  • Rather, seek the kingdom of God as your priority, and God will take care of the physical needs.
  • Today, tomorrow and worry.

Jesus has made worry a spiritual issue. It goes to being able to trust that God is in the business of providing for needs. This is God’s character, He is a giver, a provider, a blesser.

Food, drink, clothes

In the previous chapter we have been taught to pray “give us this day our daily bread” with the obvious call-back to God’s provision of manna in the wilderness (Ex 16, Num 11, Deut 8). The reflective Deuteronomist says: “ He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deut 8:3). This is the verse Jesus uses to fend off Satan’s temptation in the wilderness to make bread out of rocks. So maybe some hunger is not such a bad thing? It can be a teacher for us to rely on God rather than on the physical.

As to what you are to drink (Mt 6:5) – we have the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarepath (1 Ki 17). Elijah runs out of water in one place, asks for a drink in another (1 Ki 17:8) and God comes through magnificently, with a widow and her son sharing the blessings for months.

And clothes? Solomon in all his splendour was not dressed like of these! And one greater than Solomon is here (Mt 12:42).


There is a common underlying theme here of learning to be dependant on God on a daily basis. This is there to train our hearts to not forget about our need for God and also to not fantasise destructively into the future. There is wisdom in the time-boxing interval of a single day. 

It’s starting to feel like Jesus is saying something about cultivating a heart that listens and depends on Him and his words as a daily habit, rather than operating from a default setting of unmetered preoccupation with merely human concerns and worries.
So, maybe this whole passage is really about having an intentional focus on today. Live life out today, and be concerned with bringing God’s kingdom to earth where you are, today. Don’t fall into the trap of dreaming about future prosperity, nice meals or fancy clothes, or going the other way and being anxious about the prospect of there being nothing to eat at all.

Genuine Need

This teaching may seem to be cold comfort to the one who is genuinely in need and has no idea about where even their very next meal is coming from. Or where they will sleep that night. They have clothes for today and they will wear the same again tomorrow, but these clothes rob dignity on both days. Perhaps if you are sharing this passage with such a person, then their immediate problem is solved because it would be impossible for you not to be the on-the-ground deliverer of God’s providence! The Good News for a person in need like this is that the gospel demands compassionate responses from Jesus’ followers to alleviate the suffering of people like them. 


This paragraph has just been preceded by Jesus’ teaching about attitudes to money and possessions. In summary: Be a slave of God, not a slave of money. The two passages are connected. “This is why I tell you don’t worry about your life…” Jesus says. Jesus reveals the truth that worry is connected to where you are placing your affections – we call them concerns or even needs, but the truth is that it is the desires of our hearts that produce worry.  See that your “what shall I eat?” or “what shall I wear?” questions are nothing more than  smoke-screens – palatable-sounding excuses for your idolatrous greed. Well Jesus sees right through it!

If you really are a slave of God as you claim, then these worries would simply wither and die because your heart would be such inhospitable soil for greed to even take root. Such a heart provides no nourishment for these desires, as it so full of the mission of gathering treasures in heaven through bringing the kingdom to earth rather than seeking out treasures there.


Some people do struggle with anxiety as a clinical condition. Such anxiety may not necessarily be connected with what this passage is talking about, but connected with other factors such as trauma and chemical imbalances. God loves too much to be the source of pat answers such as “you need to just trust God more and everything will work out.” He values personal connection and a walking alongside with those in need. “Blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the poor” remember? In His kingdom it is the disenfranchised and vulnerable that have the special honour. This may take some time to work out in practice in our world, but this is the direction God has set for his disciples to follow. In the meantime, Php 4:6-10 is wonderfully practical in dealing with anxiety and worry.

Philippians 4:6–9 (HCSB): Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses  every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

Finally brothers, whatever is true,  whatever is honorable,  whatever is just,  whatever is pure,  whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence  and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received  and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. 

The key here is in verse 6: make your request! What is it exactly you would like God to do for you in this anxious situation? Simply being able to identify what would actually help and presenting that in a request to God can be a major step forward for the anxious mind. Maybe even write it down.


So, seek first the kingdom. What does it mean? From the analysis above it’s something about being in step with how God wants to operate in this world. If we partner up with Him, His kingdom advances and we get to be less worried!