Give Me That

Matthew 7:7-12
7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
9Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Yesterday we dealt with the misuse of “Judge not, lest you be judged.” (old school translation – out of my youth.) Today, we examine yet another verse that has been held up for misuse and confusion. Taken out of context and used alone, verse 7 sounds like God is a big candy dispenser in the sky. You go up and pull the handle and whatever you want drops out, yours for the taking. Then, when what you wanted doesn’t happy exactly the way you wanted it to, God doesn’t exist or God doesn’t love you. I’ve heard the same complaints on numerous occasions. God can’t win because He isn’t our personal fairy godmother, granting wishes and whims. Just like the rest of this message, today’s verses are for those who are living in the Kingdom of God. The practitioners of these verses know God and call Him ‘Father’. Jesus points us in this direction with His examples of bread and fish being granted to a child rather than a stone or a snake. And we cannot help but harken back to just a few verses earlier when Jesus taught us to pray using the address of ‘Our Father’ as we begin those conversations with Him.

My dad was (and still is) always exceptionally generous with me when I asked him for things. In fact, I can’t remember very many requests that were met with a “no”. But, if I asked for something that would not be good for me, he didn’t hesitate to withhold the object of my request. That’s what good parents do for us. Because of our relationship, I also usually knew before I asked if I would get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. I knew my dad well enough to know what his demands were, what his preferences were, and what his expectations were. The same is true of our relationship with God the Father. If I am walking in relationship with Him, I know what He wills and I pray in accordance with that will. Naturally, I’m going to get a “yes” for those requests.

Now let’s be honest. Sometimes I ask for things that I know are not inside of God’s will. Or maybe I’m just unsure about His will on a matter. That doesn’t stop me from asking. There is so much to be gained just from having the conversation! I withhold nothing from God when it comes to expressing my desires. That doesn’t mean He just hands me everything I ask for because I often ask for things that would not be good for me. So it’s okay to ask – for anything – as long as I remember that God always means me well and will grant those things that are inside of His will for me. Where I trip is when I get angry because God didn’t behave the way I wanted Him too. And that’s a good thing because if He did follow my lead then I wouldn’t be worshiping the True God but one of my own making.