Does Matthew 6:33 teach prosperity?

Here is another bible verse that is often misinterpreted. ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ (Matt 6:33). Many Prosperity preachers have taken this verse to teach that if we prioritize God’s Kingdom, this will lead to material prosperity. But is this true? In this article we will look at Matthew 6:33 in its broader context to get a more accurate understanding of what this verse really means.

An important rule to consider when reading scripture: ‘A text (or verse) without a context is a pretext.’ Meaning, you can make the verse say whatever you want it to say if it doesn’t have a context. So, for us to understand this verse properly, it is important we read the verse in its context.

Following this rule, Matthew 6:33 is part of Jesus famous Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7). There is a collection of rich teachings taught by Jesus to the listeners. Jesus speaks on certain themes like attitudes in the heart, attitudes in giving, teaching about prayer, teaching on fasting etc. And before we get to Matthew 6:33 verse, we will look at verses 6:25 – 34 to set the stage and see the fuller context.

“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [l]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The fuller context is this, Jesus is addressing the issue of worrying about material needs. In the verses above the material needs He speaks about is food, water and clothing. He starts off with an illustration of the birds of the air and How God provides food for such an animal. He then looks at the beauty of the lilies of the field and how God clothes the grass of the field with these beautiful flowers. He tells the listeners, If God provides and cares for the animal and the grass faithfully, how much more would he provide these things for those who trust in Him. Each person is far more valuable to God then the bird or the flower of the field. He says those who do not know God will worry about such things; but those who know God should not worry about food, water and clothing because their Heavenly Father will provide these things for them.

This brings us now to verse 33. Jesus tells His listeners, rather then worry and seek after food, water and clothes He says ‘BUT SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things shall be added to you.’ We will break this verse into 3 parts.

‘But seek first the kingdom of God:’ What does this mean? Let’s reference Matthew 5:3 where Jesus says. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It’s interesting that this is the first beatitude taught by Jesus, and this is also the first step to seeking after the Kingdom of God. To seek after the Kingdom of God, one must first realise their spiritual depravity. To be spiritually poor is to be as a beggar in great need. The spiritually poor have nothing and can offer nothing but rather cry out for help unto God. It’s a picture of repentance. To seek after God’s Kingdom, one cannot do it on their own strength, they must fully depend on God to save them.

The second part is, ‘and His righteousness:’ we reference Matthew 5:6 to gives us some insight. ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.’ To hunger and thirst for ‘His righteousness’ is to desire to do what’s right in the eyes of God. It’s a desire to have a righteous nature and to turn from ones own self-righteous nature. It’s a desire to be in obedience to God and His word.

The third part: ‘and all these things shall be added to you:’ Again this points us back to the things Jesus said for us not to worry about in the earlier verse from v25-32. Which is the material needs of food, water and clothes. This verse does not say that if we focus on the things of God, that He will bless us with wealth. When we read the verse in its context it tells us exactly what this verse means. For God as a Heavenly Father will provide food, water and clothing for His children so we should not worry about such things.

So how can we apply this verse to our lives?

If there be anything we would encourage believers to take away from this writing. Firstly, read the verse in its context. Secondly, to seek after God’s kingdom, turn to God for His help to be made right with Him through Jesus Christ. Focus on growing spiritually by dedicating and making time to prayer, reading, listening, studying, meditating or memorizing God’s word every day. And thirdly, to seek after His righteousness is to be a doer of His word. To be a doer of His word is to be obedient to His word. Matthew 6:33 verse, Jesus does not promise wealth to those who focus on seeking first the Kingdom of God but rather this verse reassures the believer that He will care and provide these basic needs if we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.


Fresh Truth Ministries

The Holy Bible (New King James Version)

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