I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Matthew 7:7-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Ask, Search, Knock
7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
One of Jesus imperatives to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount is “Search, and you will find.” Are you a seeker—a searcher for truth and for what is good? What does it mean to be a searcher as Jesus called us to be? I want to suggest a few things:
1] Seekers take the time and trouble to investigate spiritual matters and to learn all they can.
There is a story from a collection of the lives of the saints of Islam which concerns a king of Balkh (now northern Afghanistan) named Ebrahim ibn Adam. Ebrahim was wealthy according to every earthly measure. At the same time, however, he sincerely and restlessly strove to be wealthy spiritually as well.
Maybe you are investigating the claims of Christianity. Maybe you have questions about the validity of it all or about what it means to you. I encourage you to continue the investigation. Keep listening. Keep reading and studying and searching. Don’t give up because the answers aren’t coming as quickly as you like. Remember: Jesus promised us that if we seek we’ll find, if we ask we’ll receive and if we knock the door will be opened. At the very least – even if you’re not sure where you stand regarding faith issues – begin to pray. Be honest with God. It’s okay if your prayer is something like, “I’m not even sure if you exist, but if you do please show me who you are.”
2] Seekers know that there is always more to be learned and more to be experienced.
Seekers haven’t arrived. They don’t have all the answers. God is still at work in the lives of people and there is always more to be learned.
It is my prayer for you and for me that we would never be complacent and apathetic concerning spiritual matters. The satisfied only want to maintain their comfortable institutions, but seekers have that kind of “holy restlessness” that leads to deeper faith. Even doubt for the seeker leads to deeper faith. To use Frederick Beuchner’s words, for the seeker, “doubt is the ants in the pants of faith” that get us moving and prod us forward on the journey.
3] Seekers stick with it. They stay on the journey.
Have you noticed that one of the primary metaphors people use for investigating, for learning, for making decisions, for becoming convinced, for recovery or through many other processes is the journey. We still use the metaphor today in the developed world, even though literal journeys for us are rather simple. Our means of transportation have shortened journeys to the point that what may have once been difficult and even grueling has become more like an inconvenience or at worst a minor annoyance. We’re accustomed to the quick and simple. But, that isn’t the way it is with the faith journey. It is no quick trip.
It is rarely ever direct or easy. The way ahead is never clearly outlined or defined—whether the journey is toward faith in God or toward a deeper faith in God or toward a greater experience of God in our lives. We may set out in a certain direction and then immediately face a hurdle of some kind. We have to decide if we’re going to jump it or climb over it or journey around it or wade through it or turn back around. If we jump that hurdle or move past it whatever way it requires, then we make new discoveries and we’ll soon find another hurdle about which we must make a decision. This pattern repeats itself again and again. It takes faith and courage to go over those hurdles.
4] Seekers grow in their knowledge of God.
The prophet Jeremiah, speaking for God (Jeremiah 29:13-14a) says, “When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the LORD….”
Deuteronomy 4:29 says “From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul.”
Understand that God loves you with a depth that you could never fathom. God calls us continually, but never sit and be satisfied with that. Seek God and a deeper relationship with God and you will surely find God and that deeper relationship.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster