the things we seek

Do you ever wonder what other people think of you? Yeah, so do I. For most of us our social media profiles, posts, blogs and all that often have a lot to do with what we want other people to see and hence think about us. The last couple days, I’ve been wondering how people perceive me just going off of what they see on Facebook and our email newsletter chain.

I like to think that my focus is on the Kingdom of God. I’m kind of obsessed with talking about the Kingdom of God or at least mentioning it. Our orphan care program is called Kingdom Families, I just renamed this blog “Build This Kingdom,” I want people to think of me that I’m someone seeking the Kingdom of God and yet, I personally am unconvinced myself.

There are a lot of things that I feel I’m seeking ahead of the Kingdom of God. Money, security, reputation, you know, stuff like that.

I’ve been in a little bit of a funk the last couple days and my wife has known it. I’m generally an even keel person, don’t get too high or too low. But a few circumstances that arose yesterday before church kind of brought me down a few notches. A few moments before I sat down to write this, I hugged Melissa and asked her “What are we seeking?” In my mind, she was going to encourage me by quoting Matthew 6:33, “Bran, we’re seeking first the Kingdom of God,” but instead she was honest and just said “I don’t know.”

Here’s what’s got me down and honestly I hate to talk about it. It’s actually my least favorite thing to talk about in the public arena. I’m down because of money. I know, I know, another missionary talking about money that they need, I apologize. I’m not going to make a plea for your money in this blog, I promise. Just sharing my convoluted thoughts on the matter.

Last week, I was talking with Ryan about our plane ticket situation and we really need to buy them, but we’ve been holding off so that we can get the round trip tickets and save money. He told me that I should do some short little video of Promise being cute and just tell people that we still need money to buy the plane tickets. Great idea.

So we did it. We shared it on all three of our blogs, each of four Facebook pages and an email shout-out. Promise was cute. She showed everyone how smart she was as we read the story Bible together, we kept it to 90 seconds and haven’t received a single donation since it was posted.

It kind of got me down and now I’m just wondering if that, coupled with putting our giving information in our newsletters and making a status update about giving on Facebook has people thinking that we’re seeking money. I guess we are seeking money.

Now, I just share all that because it’s on my mind and this is my blog where I share what’s on my mind. I’m sure that there are ways that you are also seeking money. Maybe just to pay the bills or maybe to get you to the next financial level in society. I would also like the security that I perceive that it brings. I want money so that I don’t have to worry about money.

I wish that I would come to a personal resolve on the matter. I don’t want to talk about money anymore and I really, really don’t want to ask for it anymore.

What about you? What are you seeking after first? Lately, for me it’s been money, security and reputation. That’s not good, I confess. When I worry about these things and seek them above God and His Kingdom, that’s sin. When I seek money first even for plane tickets, that’s sin. When I seek the security of my family first, that’s sin. When I seek after the praise and good reputation among other people first, that’s sin. Because even if those aren’t bad things I’m not seeking the Kingdom of God first.

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” That’s our directive. That’s what we do. Anything short of that is missing the point. If there was no further promise in that scripture, it wouldn’t change our directive to seek His Kingdom first in our lives.

Yet there is a promise from our gracious God “…and all these things shall be added to you.” God knows our needs, Jesus only asks that we seek Him first of all and let Him worry about the other stuff.

I told my wife that I’m not going to be sad anymore. Melissa will deliver in California, we will spend the holidays with family and we will return to Tanzania at the start of 2015. My job isn’t to seek the things that secure that path. My job is to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Found this cool piece of the verse here:


Author: Brandon Stiver

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, living and working in Moshi, Tanzania. My wife is named Melissa and we have three children: Moses, Promise and Shepherd. We are directors over an orphan care ministry called Kingdom Families; advocating for the needs of orphans and vulnerable children and assisting families to welcome them into their homes as sons and daughters.

2 thoughts on “the things we seek”

  1. My dear friend, I do honestly understand. Today we are going by our old house Joziah”s Rest to let them know that we will not be renewing the lease for next year because the funds have not come in. I am not quit sure how to think of this yet. Last year (actually a year ago today) we saw God move in miraculous ways. We had no money… NONE! and then we were given (in a 17 minute span of time) a multimillion dollar home in one of the wealthiest places in the world…. for what? He wanted a place for His warriors to rest….. and that is what took place. Will He want that to happen again??? we will find out soon….

    I wanted to share with you a message Brian and I received last year (to the date!) when we asked the same questions you are….. I hope this brings you clarity.

    Consider the Ant – Derek Prince
    Proverb 6:6-8
    Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions and summer and gathers it’s food at harvest.

    We are commanded to the ant as an example of wisdom. What is the particular wisdom of the ant that is spoken of there? First, ants coordinate their activities with one another. The dog – eat – dog of our contemporary life is not found in an ant colony. They go out together, they cooperate, and they share their strength. There is coordination and everything they do. They do not act as ruthless individuals, ignoring each other. They have a collective objective. And secondly, they store their provisions in summer; they gather their food in harvest. They take what is available when it is available. How important is that.

    So many times, I think, we pray for God to make some provision for us. But when provision is made, we are not ready to receive it and we miss what God has provided because we don’t take it at the appointed time. We want God to suit our schedule rather than adapting our schedule to God.

    To me, life is something like a freeway with exits. And one of the things about a freeway is if you miss the exit you can’t get back. I would advise you to take God’s provision while it is available. See what God is doing, and align yourself with it.

    Even though there are miles between us we are in this fight with you! We love you guys. Brian, Amy and Joziah

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