Ask, Search, Knock – Br. Keith Nelson

Br. Keith Nelson

Matthew 7:7-12


Ask… and it will be given. Search…and you will find. Knock…and the door will be opened for you.

What prevents you from asking, searching, or knocking?

It might be a literal lack of clarity. Who should I ask? Where should I search? Is this the right door, or is it that one?

It might be an emotion on the fear continuum: anxiety; suspicion; pessimism; insecurity; loneliness. What if I hear “No” in reply? What if I spend all that energy searching but find nothing helpful, nothing worthwhile? What if I knock and that door remains shut tight, with not a light to be seen behind the dark window panes as night falls?

It might be a well-intentioned desire for independence or self-sufficiency; or the desire to appear competent or smart. What if I can just figure this out by myself? That way, I won’t have to be a burden or impose my question or need on someone else…

It might even be fear of the very gift, opportunity, or invitation we long for.  What if I hear “yes” in reply? Am I ready to walk through that door if it does open? What would I do or say next?

Jesus knows that it can be so hard for us to take all of these risks – so hard that we might even prefer to subsist on a diet of stones and snakes because we think it’s easier; because we feel we’re not worth anything better; because we cannot imagine a God that generous or a universe that simple.

As a foundational stance toward our relationship with God, ask-search-knock calls forth from us an initiative and a willingness to expose our hearts. This is as true in our relationships with human companions as it is with God. But on our part, the process of asking, searching, and knocking changes us, just as it changed Jesus.

At his baptism, Jesus heard a voice from heaven speak directly to him: “This is my Son, the Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” Emerging from the spiritual sifting of his wilderness fast, Jesus began to embody his role as a Teacher grounded in a foundational stance: I am God’s child.

Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?

It was a rhetorical question. Who would do that? In the generous and simple laws that govern a home, it is the child’s nature to ask for what she needs – first, with loud, inarticulate wailing, then eventually in simple words, directed by the body’s instincts: I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. I’m cold. Pick me up. Put me down. And then, one fateful day: I want to do it my own self.

Do we have the courage – the resilience – the trust – to name the need aloud? To return in spirit – as did Jesus – to the felt knowledge that we are beloved children of a God that generous, in a kingdom that simple? Ask, search, knock…and become the child you are in God’s eyes.

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  1. Claudia Booth on March 13, 2023 at 17:43

    Dear Brother Keith,
    At seventy-five years of age, I have recently spent a lot of time looking for work that I might do. You identified my issues and feelings, exactly. Very helpful.

  2. Marynelle Losin on March 13, 2023 at 09:47

    Thank you, Brother Keith!
    Timely, helpful, and inspired.
    God bless you this day and always.

  3. Marie Alford-Harkey on April 7, 2022 at 12:26

    So lovely to hear your voice reflecting on the Gospel again, dear Keith.

  4. Katie Rimer on March 19, 2022 at 13:21

    Thank you, Keith. I needed this!

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