Matthew 7:7-12 New International Version (NIV)
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
I work at a small retail shop, and I have come to recognize at least three different types of shoppers. There are the browsers– they have no clear idea of what they are looking for, and they spend their time looking at items and chatting. They may end up buying items, but they are just as likely to pick up an item, consider it, and then cast it aside if something else catches their eye, or their friends are ready to leave.
Then, there are the lookers. They pick up certain items, look at the price, look at the color and size, hold it up, try it on (if it can be worn); they may even ask their friends’ advice. They have a particular need, and they are looking for an item that “fits” that need.
But the seekers– look out! They march in, come right up to the counter and ask me a host of specific questions. Do you have_______________? They have a description of the item they’re seeking– size, color, brand or label–often very specific and they insist that nothing else will do. If I assure them that I do not have that item in stock, they turn tail and walk away. If I say that I have something similar, they may reluctantly let me bring it out for inspection, but one glance is all it takes for them to make up their minds. If I suggest something else, they are likely to shake their head(s) and walk away. They may come back in a week or month, or even next year, looking for the same item, or something else, but they come with the same pulsing energy, and excitement. Price is generally no object. The fact that I don’t have the item they’re looking for does not diminish their excitement or desire to find “that one item” that brought them through my door.
We live in a world of browsers– in fact, our search engines/internet information-gathering applications are called “browsers”. We enter a keyword, the application brings back dozens or thousands of possible sites, and we “browse” through our options until we find one that seems to give us the information we want or need. This is fine if we are looking for general information. It becomes frustrating if we are looking for an exact website, unless we know its domain name or URL.
In pursuing prayer, and “seeking” a closer relationship with God, sometimes, I stoop to browsing– I’m not really seeking His face, just looking around for encouragement or validation or a vague warm, fuzzy “feeling”. God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Earnestly, diligently, fervently. We are not called to browse idly, but to seek boldly.
I used to work with teens. Sometimes I would organize a scavenger hunt, or a treasure hunt. Teams would form, clues or lists would be given, along with a time limit. Students would run, climb, dig, crawl, scamper, push, sweep, turn things over, and under, and all around–all in the pursuit of a clue or an item for a game. How much more might we see God’s response if we brought this kind of energy and passion to our prayer life?
I think I have some seeking to do…