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by Dennis Allen

Reprint from the July 1945 Word & Work


“Seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”—Matt. 6:33.

Few people live truly purposeful lives, in spite of the fact that we hate only one life to live which is short and uncertain at the very best. If you were asked today: “What are you living for?” could you give an intelligent answer? Have you discovered the central purpose of life, or are you living aimlessly? Nothing is more tragic than for a man to come to the end of the way and find that he has taken the wrong path—has missed the whole purpose of life. Yet thousands have made, and are making, this mistake.

To determine the purpose of our lives we must decide what is most important—what deserves our highest loyalty. Through the centuries, men have given many answers. Some have placed first the state, others society, or caste, while others have exalted money or personal pleasure to the supreme place. The history of the world has shown how sadly these ways have failed. They have left in their train war, strife, bloodshed, hatred, guilt, remorse and a feeling of futility and despair.

There is only one who can speak with authority on the purpose of life—our Creator, who in due season became flesh and dwelt among us. He knew what was in man because man had been created through Him—“without him was not anything made that hath been made.” Only those who turn to Christ will find the answer to this fundamental question. He not only gave the answer to this question, but showed men the supreme importance of finding the answer and living in harmony with it. “For what shall it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36.) To go wrong here is to spell disaster. The fact that we are confused and uncertain only shows more clearly our need of guidance.

Christ gives the answer to the purpose of life in these words: “Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33.) This means there is one thing in life more important than anything else. It takes precedence over all the other things we have been seeking. They are of value only if they contribute to this end. But men do not believe this is the most important thing to seek. We see that our own ways do not work, but we do, not want to take God’s way, and so we go from one difficulty into another. We have put the material before the spiritual and lost them both. We have sought the thing that God said was an incidental which He would add. There is no solution, but to return to God’s way. If we seek His kingdom first the material things will be added to us. If we try to live in any other way we are living against life and will suffer for it.

What does it mean to put God’s kingdom first? Much has been said along this line, but seldom do we see a true application of it in life. If the Kingdom of God is first, it means that nothing else is so important. It occupies the forefront in our thoughts. It is the object of our seeking. As others seek for food and clothing, the Chris tian is to seek the kingdom of God. To it we are to devote our time, our energy, emotions, will, possessions, ourselves. It becomes a life passion. All of life is to be centered around this one goal. Others may be diverted by side-issues but for the Christian the kingdom has the highest priority rating. If there must be a choice between my material possessions and the kingdom, the possessions must go. Nothing can stand in the way of this objective.


A preaching band in China asked a very poor farmer to join them one spring in the work. “But I haven’t planted my wheat yet,” he said. But a voice whispered even as he was making his excuse, “Your wheat? Nay, your Heavenly Father’s wheat.” He went, although his heathen neighbors scoffed and said he was very foolish not to stay and plant his crop first. Instead his days were filled with planting the Seed of the Kingdom in the hearts of the needy souls around him, and his heart was happy. When he was able to return home to plant his wheat, his heart sank within him as he saw his neighbors’ fields a lovely green with the sprouting wheat, and his was not even planted. Then he remembered the words, “Your heavenly Father knoweth what things ye have need of,” and his peace returned. The planting done he returned to the other workers to sow the good seed.

And then the drouth came. The ground was so dry that his wheat seed did not sprout, but the green fields around began to turn yellow, and before the drought was over a third of the crops had withered and died. Then came the refreshing rain, and his wheat took root and sprang up. He later reaped a bountiful harvest, but his neighbors complained bitterly of poor crops. He had sought first the kingdom of God. Until we are willing to count all things loss for the kingdom, we have not put it first. To seek first the kingdom, then is not just an acknowledgement, it means action. Our whole life must be committed to the proposition that the kingdom is first. It becomes our ambition, our joy, our hope. To seek the kingdom is to do the will of God. Jesus said, “Not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” And He prayed, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Needless to say, the narrow denominationalism which has been frequently manifested among Christians, is inconsistent with this great life purpose. One who has caught a vision of the true church of God and its glorious mission could never divert his energies to the promotion of the interests of some sect, denomination, or society. He can only take his stand as a simple Christian upon Christ and His church.

When we as Christians get our life-purpose straight and center our lives on the one central thing, the day may well be hastened, when the Lord shall return and the heavenly voices proclaim, “The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15.) Are You living in accordance with this central purpose of life?

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”


Bro. Dennis Allen was a long time Church of Christ preacher and served also as a missionary.


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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10