Why Keep Asking?
Matthew 7:7-8, “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. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
Today…I woke up. I shaved. I took a shower. I got dressed. I ate breafast while finalizing this note on Facebook. I spent some time reading the Bible. I took my oldest daughter to high school. I drove to work at the paper plant in Hawkinsville. I worked with numbers for about 4 hours. I ate lunch. I worked with numbers for another 4 hours. I drove home. I checked my Facebook page. I ate dinner. I ran on the treadmill. I took a second shower. I started my Facebook note for tomorrow’s posting. I kissed my children good night when they went to bed. I watched CSI with my wife. I went to bed.
Tomorrow…I will do every single one of those things again. (Yes, even the part about watching CSI. We watch one episode almost every night. We are on season five right now.) My life is very routine at times, particularly on Monday through Friday. I can tell you exactly what I will be doing at just about any given time of the day. Some of the things I do are necessary. No matter how many times I eat I always end up getting hungry again. And as much as I hate to take two showers each day I imagine that my family and coworkers appreciate the time I spend in personal hygiene. Some of the things I do are matters of personal choice. I choose to read the Bible. I choose to exercise. They are things that are important to me. As a result, I am willing to make a daily investment in those activities.
As we mature in life we begin to realize that there is a value to daily discipline. Not all routine is bad. And as much as we like to trumpet the virtues of spontaneity there is tremendous worth to be experienced in positive habits. In fact, God encourages it when it comes to this whole thing of His giving and our receiving. God wants us to develop the discipline of asking. In the Greek the verb tense is best translated as “Ask, and keep on asking…seek, and keep on seeking…knock, and keep on knocking….” It is the idea of a continuous, ongoing practice. He longs for asking to become a habit in our lives, not just something that happens on the all too often rare ocassion. As much as this will make some of you cringe, I am going to say it anyway. God wants asking to become a routine for us.
Now keep in mind, just because something is a routine, that doesn’t mean it has to be routine. There is a difference. (I will give you a few minutes to reread that and think about it if necessary.) Asking becomes routine when we forget the purpose for asking. Asking is NOT about receiving. God didn’t call us to ask as a means of gratifying our every selfish whim and desire. The routine of asking thrives best in the atmopsphere of relationship. At this moment I am thinking about my children. They have spent the better part of their lives asking me for stuff. I can’t imagine how I would feel if they began to start taking their requests to someone else. I can’t begin to express my feelings of disappointment and rejection. I am their father. I want them to ask me for the things they need, the things they want. I delight in providing for their needs and surprising them with the things they want. It is my joy, my delight.
If I, being evil, feel that way towards my children, how much more does our Father in heaven feel about our asking? Asking is not an irritation to God. In fact, to Him it is one of the greatest evidences of our faith. Asking tells God that I am depending on Him. It says I trust Him alone with my needs and my desires. Asking declares, “God, I look to You as my Father, the one who is longing and most able to take care of me.” Our asking may well be one of God’s greatest joys. With that in mind, I guess it’s not such a bad thing to have asking as a part of my routine. Hmmm…I think it’s time to add something else to my daily schedule.
Matthew 7:11, “…how much more will your Father in heaven give the good to those who ASK Him!”