By Michael E. Brooks
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV).
A friend of mine who operates a school, and also an evangelistic ministry, which is supported by funds from international sources, recently went three months without receiving the expected financial transfers. He told various friends about the problem, and asked if they could help convince the source of the funds to send the money.
Finally he was able to correspond with his sources directly and found they had sent the funds on schedule. At their prompting, the evangelist went to his bank and found that the money was there all along, but new regulations required his filling out additional paperwork. They were waiting on him to come and ask about the funds.
How often do we hear of mail, checks, property or personal items that lie unclaimed for years or decades, simply because the owners have never inquired as to their presence? They were exactly where they were supposed to be, easy to find and claim, but of no value to anyone because the appropriate person simply did not ask.
Jesus reminds us that even God will not award what is not sought or desired. He does not force his blessings upon anyone. Salvation is a free gift of his grace (not without conditions, but never-the-less unearned), to those who will seek it and submit to his will. Even God’s nature and presence must be sought after (Acts 17:27; Romans 1:18-20).
I have heard some state that they would never think of “bothering” God with their petty wants and needs. “Surely,” they say, “the God of Creation and Lord of the Universe has better things to do than listen to my prayers and requests.”
God’s response is plain, “Ask, Seek, Knock!” That is what He wants. Who are we to question his will?
There is one caution however. We can ask amiss. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
Covetousness (the extreme desire for material wealth and pleasure) is sin, and God does not condone or countenance it even when expressed, as a petition before him (Colossians 3:5).
When we ask only for ourselves, and only for material possessions or experiences to gratify sinful desires, our prayers are denied. Otherwise however, when we pray for those things which will truly enrich our lives and our relationship with God, he hears and gladly answers.
My friend endured great hardship and worry because he did not ask the right party for information and assistance. How much have we suffered, and what blessings have we missed, because we have not asked God for all his bountiful help?
“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).