Ask, Seek and Knock
Let me start off by saying this may not have been the best title for our ministry blog. After laying in a conscious dreaming state of mind, I carved out some time this morning for self reflection. Actually, I naturally focused on loved ones at first and then as usual the proverbial finger came flying back at myself. Let’s face it, the Bible teaches us that prayer is less about changing other people and more about changing ourselves. With this revelation applied carefully to my real life application, it was soon directed back towards yours truly. That’s exactly what I deserved this morning considering the wise words of our Savior, “He without sin, cast the first stone.”
Let’s preface that this is not intended to sound condescending or be a speech given from an elevated higher position. Our written account is merely a regurgitation conversation I had previously with myself. Perhaps one day (if it’s not today), the future you will speak to the present you with a spiritual motivation and a conviction that will propel you into Biblical success.
This is very complicated passage for some because without fail we are earnestly ASKing by way of either prayer, pleading or petition and not noticeably receiving our answers. Let’s dive in a little closer and see what God may be saying here. Let’s imagine for a second that these three actions coupled together are the correct formula for an answer. ASK, SEEK and then KNOCK! This reminds me of when Elisha visited the widow who was about to have her two sons taken as slaves. He told her to do three things which served as an exercise of her faith. It’s easy to conclude you don’t have what you need to solve your problems. The Apostles when presented the task of feeding five thousand men and their families we’re asked by Jesus, “what do you have?” Their reply to Jesus was very similar to the widows response to Elisha when asked the same question, “Nothing.” After some reflection, a little boy’s lunch was offered to Jesus and the widow recalled having a jar of olive oil to Elisha. In both of these accounts, the first lesson to understand is that you must give God something to work with. Maybe we can all become more like Jesus who decided to thank God for what He did have rather than focusing on what He didn’t have.
Secondly, we consider the available resources at our disposal in relation to our expectation of God’s presence in our situation. The widow was instructed to gather as many empty jars as she could from her friends, family, neighbors and her community. Today we would refer to that as our “sphere of influence.” The man of God reiterated, “Don’t ASK for just a few.” The Apostles on the shore were also instructed to ASK the hungry men to sit in sections of 50 or 100. This “call to order” math based on 5,000 is 100 sections of 50 men or 50 sections of 100 men which potentially serves as a supernatural correlation with the 150 Psalms. Either way, after understanding that we’re unable to be the miracle someone else needs without God’s help, it all falls into perspective. You need to give God something to work with and then have an expectation of the coming blessing in your preparation. Another example is how Noah didn’t wait for it to start raining before he began building the boat. The boats construction took place 100 years before the flood no where near a body of water.
The third and final element of this proposed “answered prayer formula” is to close the door behind you. When Noah had accepted and “called to order” the animals that we have been given dominion over, the Bible says that the LORD closed the door behind them. God was upset with what the “free will world” had become and decided to completely close that door and never look back. Elisha instructed the widow to “close the door behind you” so the olive oil (often representing the Holy Spirit) can continue to flow until the last remaining empty vessel is filled to the brim. What do are we supposed to close in our life so that another one may be open in Jesus name?
We have too many people in our society today that would rather paint themselves as a 1st world victim rather than the blood of Christ. If you live in America for example, I doesn’t matter if you’re in a section 8 housing project, on food stamps, welfare or imprisoned in the penitentiary, our living conditions are better than a majority of the human beings we share this planet with. Don’t be so quick to discount your prayers as being unanswered. Maybe your prayer was answered with an opportunity that presented itself. What if you never pursued that opportunity and it past you by? A wise man once told me, “an opportunity of a lifetime only last the lifetime of the opportunity.” Once you ASK, you must SEEK until you find that door to the opportunity. While standing close enough to see the door, you have definitely come to far to not knock on it. My friends, KNOCK on it, KNOCK on it and keep on KNOCKing on the damn thing until it’s answered!!!
Another word to the wise would be a word of caution, please slow down in getting caught up with the affairs of civilian life. There’s truly no reward for winning or losing. If you want the eternal victory that Christ has already claimed for us, it doesn’t cost a dime and we’re all brothers and sisters in that Kingdom to come. If you want to have a fruitful relationship with Christ here on earth and step into the promises that He already has for your life, “Get off your lazy ass and do something about it.” If you’re looking to better your situation and shake off the generational curse that has chained our way of thinking down, “Get off of your lazy ass and do something about it.” A famous body builder who used to be my pastor once told me, “Until you’re doing everything you know that you should be doing and NOT doing the things that you know you should not be doing, you don’t need help, you just have a discipline problem.” So true Pastor Tad!!! “You have to say what you see so you can see what you say.”-Pastor Ronald Robey