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But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
Margins. We all need them. Margins give us the space that we need to breathe. Just like on paper, if we take up space in the margins, things get sloppy and disorganized. They become crowded and illegible, a morass of characters jumbled and crammed into space that is meant to be empty and peaceful. Sometimes, our relationships feel this way and unlike paper, we can’t simply throw them away and start over.
There is no great secret to keeping relationships healthy and thriving, just like there is no great secret to most things in life. It is simply a matter of priority and intent. This is what Jesus referred to in our key passage. He was talking about priorities and making the point that they start with focusing on the One. If we get our relationship with our Savior right, then everything else flows from there.
The difficult truth is that in most cases, the quality of our relationships is a reflection of our efforts toward them.
Some people have issues that we can’t help regardless of effort. But generally, our marriages, family relationships, and friendships reflect the level of priority we give them. Many times I’ve found myself wishing that my kids would quit the video games for a while. Ironically, I’ve wished that while sitting on the couch reading a book about parenting. I had to face the truth that it is up to me to get up and go engage with them in another activity.
In those moments, I don’t always want to take them on a bike ride or to the park. I just want to relax. But my kids need attention. So here I have margin that I could use. I could use it on me and pretend that I’m being noble since I’m reading about parenting. But I’ll still have to own my choice when I’m frustrated that my kids played video games all day. Or I could use it to parent. If we’re being real, the question isn’t how to get margin; it’s whether we will steward margin well. So let’s look again at our key verse, because the answer is there.
Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. In the preceding verses, Jesus talked about us working to fulfill our needs and desires. But He knows what those things are. He knows that time on the couch reading a book about being a better parent is a good thing. Again, it is about priority.
Spending quality time with the people He put in my life to love is kingdom work.
To continue our example, if I prioritize by spending time at the park with my kids, I can then come back home and sit on the couch with a clear conscience. If we put His kingdom first, the other things that we need will be added. Added. Not instead of. The beauty of God’s kingdom is that we don’t have settle for less. His kingdom is the kingdom of much more. When we prioritize His kingdom in place of striving for other things, He adds the other things to us. What more could we ask for?
This example applies in any relational scenario. If our desire is to seek His kingdom first, then everything that we need to succeed in relationships will be at our disposal. We will have the margin that we need along with wisdom and joy pertinent to relational prosperity.
Go the Extra Mile:
Ask Him to help you to prioritize His kingdom. Then schedule that date night with your spouse, plan that phone call to your relative, pen (not pencil) in that movie night with the kids, and follow through on having coffee with that friend. You’ll find that you have much more margin than you realized.
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