“He findeth not who seeks his own.
The soul is lost that’s saved alone.”
– John Greenleaf Whittier
Why do we seek the kingdom without also seeking God’s righteousness or justice? That is, are the benefits of the kingdom only for one’s own self? Is the purpose of seeking the kingdom only to be in the kingdom and enjoy its blessings as an individual?
Instead, seeking the kingdom is not a selfish endeavor, but it means a better world for everyone around you. In this way, our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees, because we perform better works in quality, not quantity.
Our actions no longer lift ourselves up; instead, they lift up God, and, in doing so, lift up the lowly, the poor in spirit, the one who mourns.
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” has been transformed into “may we do your will here so we can join you in heaven.” Instead of becoming a blessing for others, we become consumers who only seek a golden ticket into heaven for ourselves.
Yes, we are to “work out our own salvation” but if we read the next verse, Paul says, “For it is God who is at work in you…” (Philippians 2:12-13). And if God is at work in us, it is impossible that we should be saved alone.