This post is my follow up to @DesertDave's post here #501355, per a short discussion we had in the comments.
I think there’s something about this idea that resonates with most of us, so I thought I’d share the history and religious background to really dig into its original meaning.
A couple of quick mentions:
  • If you’re not a Christian and/or generally opposed to Christianity/religion, but you’re interesting in improving your framework to seek truth/meaning, I think there might be something here for you.
  • If you are a Christian or have a religious background, you’re probably familiar with a lot of this, but I made an attempt to add some unique ideas that may be new to you.

Some background

The jewish people were living under Roman oppression, waiting on the fulfillment of prophecies about a Messiah that would bring salvation, not only to them, but to the entire world. This was commonly interpreted to mean that a military leader was coming to overthrow the Roman Empire. It was also common to believe that God would not send the Messiah until his people had reached some arbitrary threshold of righteousness. This resulted in religious laws becoming more and more strict over time.
Jesus enters the scene, performs healings and miracles, and claims to be the Messiah. People are intrigued and follow him everywhere he teaches. But instead of gathering an army, he spends time with the sick, the poor, and the unrighteous (including some who were participating in oppression). Instead of supporting the religious leaders and proclaiming freedom from the Roman Empire, he broke religious rules and claimed that he is the escape from spiritual death. (Spoiler alert, this was the main reason he was crucified, but that's a different conversation).

"Seek First the Kingdom"

In one of his first large public teachings (known as the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus implores his listeners to shift their focus away from following the rules or seeking a life of physical/material security. He would also say things like “You’ve been taught ‘Do not murder’, but I say that if you say to your brother ‘you idiot’, you are in danger of spiritual death.”1 Instead of completely abolishing the rules, he would get to the heart of it, and up the ante. He would say “You cannot serve God and money, so don’t be worried about your life and how you will take care of yourself. Look at how God takes care of the birds and the flowers - so much more will He care for you.”2
He was preaching freedom from stringent rule following and the grind of daily life, and at the same time, telling people how to interpret the rules in such a way that would be life giving to individuals and communities.
In this context, he states “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”2.

Going Further Back

Incredibly, this resonates with one of the very first written pieces of God’s word to his people. Rewind several centuries, the jews were working 7 day work weeks as slaves in Egypt. Inability to perform likely meant that the Egyptians would take advantage of your family in far worse ways. It had been burned into their minds that their entire worth was their ability to work and contribute. Once they’re finally freed from slavery, they’re given the story of creation - a beautifully written poem whose central focus is inherent human worth and the vital importance of rest3. God says that humans are very good, prior to any ability to perform, and that each week and day must begin with rest.
(Quick side note - the day of rest was a big point of controversy with Jesus. As mentioned earlier, there were a lot of strict religious rules at the time Jesus entered the picture, and Sabbath was a major example of this. The rules had gotten so out of control that following them had made the day of rest a burden. Jesus was notorious for blatantly breaking those rules, but simply responded by saying the day of rest was meant for our benefit4.)

Timeless Meaning

So, fast forward to today. It’s still so easy for us to believe that our worth is wrapped up in our ability to perform and to keep up.
One of the most gripping illustrations in the short film @DesertDave shared was “device slavery”. It resonates because it’s so obvious. And I would argue that if it’s not our devices, you could fill the blank with so many other things, and they become rules of our culture.
You must have:
  • A following/likes
  • The right job
  • A side hustle
  • The best takes on social media
  • Enough money
  • The right kind of money
  • The right kind and amount of long term investment(s)
Technology is freedom. Privacy is freedom. Bitcoin is freedom.
Our default is to strive for satisfaction in things that enslave us one way or another.
When Jesus says “Seek first God’s Kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added to you”, he’s saying the same thing God said In The Beginning:
  • You don’t need to be anxious any more.
  • Don’t worry about the rules or the performance.
  • Take a break, slow down, stop trying to force it.
  • You have inherent worth, and that is found by living in relationship to the Truth that transcends your individual existence.
Seek first the Kingdom is a far more revolutionary idea than the downfall of yet another empire. Seek first the Kingdom is not about finding it within yourself to become a better person.
This is the meaning of Seek First the Kingdom, according to the speaker:
Go to the Source and you’ll have everything you need. Don't worry about the rules of society, don't fall for those false promises. Instead, seek and cling to the Heart behind the rules of morality, and you will find the meaning and satisfaction you're looking for.
Doesn't matter if you've been living oppressed for decades in a country without technology or if you're a teenager battling the effects of social media addiction in the comfort of your home in the suburbs - that's the answer.


  1. Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ ”But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever * says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
  2. Matthew 6:24-34 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. BUT SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
  3. See Genesis Chapter 1, but listen through for an accurate cultural interpretation of the passage, as well as an explanation of the literary techniques and overall poetic meaning.
  4. Mark 2:23-27 And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees were saying to Him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath? And He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?" Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
this territory is moderated
Our default is to strive for satisfaction in things that enslave us one way or another.
Being a Hindu, this feels quite contradictory to my religious beliefs. However, it resonates on the basis of the Bhagavat Gita, a Hindu religious text, where the lord emphasizes the importance of fulfilling one's duty or dharma. In your career or entrepreneurial pursuits, strive to understand your unique role and responsibilities, and perform them with dedication and integrity.
I’d love to hear more about this - what specifically feels contradictory? The idea that humans tend to seek satisfaction in things that aren’t fulfilling seems evidenced by *motions to everything*, but I’d be curious to hear more about the Hindu perspective
I would also like to hear about it.
Great post.
Seek first the Kingdom is a far more revolutionary idea than the downfall of yet another empire.
Its wild when you think about the impact of Jesus example of self sacrifice. His example has echoed through time and affects all of us today regardless of our belief or unbelief. His mission was so much deeper than what his people the Jews of that day could imagine. Jesus came to overthrow the ideas central to flawed humanity. Showing us a better way. We get so caught up in the state, bitcoin, and getting ahead we can forget this. Thanks for sharing.
It's not exactly what either of these figures were getting, but I'm reminded of
  1. Heraclitus' "Character is destiny" and
  2. Nietzsche's ideas about transcending morality.
Yeah I love those ideas as well, because they share the goal of Christianity to transcend and find true meaning and life. The core difference is, christian philosophy says we're only able to find fragments and shards of those things within ourselves and the world around us. We're broken reflections.
What a video in @DesertDave post!
And what a great followup bu you.
Watched the video twice and read this post three times already.
seek and cling to the Heart behind the rules of morality, and you will find the meaning and satisfaction you're looking for.
I am speechless. This is by far the best post I have read on SN so far. And these lines have struck my mind because they resonate with my beliefs.
Knowledgeable. More to learn. Thanks
Very insightful, reflection time!
Great post, thanks! I learned several things from this.
Hey @DesertDave - I forgot to forward a percentage of sats to you from this post, so I’m just zapping your original post instead
Thank you. I appreciate it.
God has placed the verse on my heart and mind a lot recently! been meditating over it a lot!
Jesus isn't philosophy. This is dogmatic religion.
In philosophy you have to think, not blindly repeat what others say.