Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock.
[With these words Jesus continues to teach about the Law of Moses as the Sermon on the Mount continues. He takes some of the most important topics and explains to his disciples, in specific terms, what it means to be “more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires” (See Day 23)].
Here Jesus delivers to his disciples a powerful exhortation as he begins to wind up his great sermon. Dream big! God will be with you! God will provide!
Jesus has a vision about social and religious reform. In this Sermon on the Mount Jesus shares his vision; in this scripture he teaches his disciples how to make it happen.
The first thing Jesus tells his disciples to do is to ASK God for direction. To ask is to declare your willingness to partner with God to achieve his goals and to volunteer your services.
Then he says to SEEK out ways to help make it happen. This may involve research, learning, practicing, experimenting, purchasing, and of course praying to affirm the vision.
The final step is to KNOCK – when the time is right, God says to take action. Then he takes over from there. God opens the door and the vision becomes a reality.
The first example that comes to mind is the ministry of the great civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
ASK – Born in Atlanta in 1929 in Atlanta, Martin was the son of a Baptist minister. Wikipedia says that by the time he was a teenager he had serious doubts about Christianity. I’m sure he was doing a lot of asking – about racism, injustice, and whether or not Christianity could provide the answers to the problems he saw around him. I’m sure he asked God and everyone else.
SEEK – He apparently got an affirmative answer because he entered seminary, received his doctorate degree and began pastoring a church in Montgomery, Alabama. One of King’s favorite scriptures was Matthew 5:43-46 (Days 34-35) – the ones about loving your enemies. He connected with the Quakers because of their commitment to peace and non-violence. They in turn funded his 1959 trip to India where he learned from Mahatma Gandhi about achieving social change through pacifism.
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white person, King became the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks and King were both arrested and his house was bombed, but the boycott proved effective and racial segregation on Montgomery buses was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. This launched an almost continuous campaign of similar protests and boycotts over the next few years. (My husband John marched with him in one of those demonstrations in Chicago).
KNOCK – In 1963 the stage was set for the historic March on Washington. The entire nation watched on TV as more than a quarter of a million people gathered to hear King deliver his brilliant 17-minute “I Have a Dream” speech that changed the course of history. He knocked loudly on the door or every home in America, and doors that had been previously closed were opened wide. Dr. King and his dream were warmly received my most of the country and the tide turned. Even his assassination a year later couldn’t stop the civil rights movement. It was a death blow for institutional racism in the United States. God’s vision of equality still hasn’t been fully realized, but his hand continues to guide and direct others to pick up where Dr. King left off.
How many things do we fail to receive because we don’t ask God? It seems like you can go into any church in America and somewhere you will find a long list of sick people for whom the congregation is praying. We pray for people with cancer or diabetes. Instead, why don’t we pray for cures for these diseases? Instead of lists of sick people, why don’t we have lists of diseases that shouldn’t still be plaguing humanity? It seems like we are contented with things the way they are. We are willing to accept sickness and suffering as natural and inevitable.
I think Jesus would say that’s not good enough. He says to dream big. He says that God is ready and willing to give us what we ask for. We should ask for an end to racism, poverty, violence, disease, depression, hopelessness, war, homelessness, sexual slavery, political oppression, and all the other things that are clearly not of God. We just need to ask, seek, and knock – God will take care of the rest. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer and ask God to establish his Kingdom here on earth, we should believe that it’s actually possible. Just like Dr. King, we should allow ourselves to have a dream and then do all that we can to make it a reality. We should settle for nothing less.
So let’s all think of one thing that we think is impossible and write it down somewhere. A Kingdom of God thing – something big that’s been on your heart. Then ask God for it and see what happens. I dare you. I double dog dare you.
What does this scripture say to you?