6 Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. 7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…. 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:6-7,11
I’ve been pondering the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) the past couple weeks. Amazing the perspective differences that come simply from reading all three chapters in one sitting over and over then digesting with God the overall and overlapping message. Our human nature loves to cling to pieces. Unfortunately, we often end up trampling the pieces and then tearing the messenger or the true message to pieces.
If each author of a book/letter of the Bible (like any gifted author of any book) has generally one main point or a thesis to address in their writing, then it would only make sense that the reader should not dissect the pieces of the text apart from each other else the whole easily loses its one focus.
In what has become known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus is teaching the crowd the importance of trusting God and living from the inside out rather than basing your goodness or others on what is seen. Matthew 7 continues this idea by instructing us to be aware of our own issues before attempting to help others.
The question that came to me today: Is Jesus indicating that helping others out of our own righteousness (which comes from God) is like giving pearls to pigs? Since the segment on Ask, Seek, Knock ends with “do to others…,” is the instruction more related to helping others get the speck out of their eye rather than the more commonly taught idea of praying for what you want? If it is more about helping others, it seems the instruction is to let others seek God – ask, seek, knock on his door – and not to bring the attention on ourselves or what we think we can toss at them to help. Our abilities/gifts/help are limited.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
We cannot make someone a “good” person. Only God can do that from the inside. We cannot give lasting comfort to those who mourn, or give the earth to the meek, or crown with righteousness those who are hungry for it. There are people in my life that I desperately want to experience the comfort and joys that God wants to give them in this life. But if I attempt to give them what only God can truly give, it will most likely be trampled by them (I’ve seen it happen). Maybe because they will see it as me trying to say they need to be like me. Or simply because the “good gifts” I can give are mostly external stuff or words that have meaning to me because I have wrestled with God over those words.
It is the one who puts effort in asking God directly, seeking his ways, and knocking on his door; they are the ones who receive, who find and who move forward with the gifts only God can give. The unseen and the seen. And it is the unseen gifts of God that give meaning, purpose and love for all the external gifts that he gives to us each day.
The next time you notice the speck of sawdust in someone’s eye, you might want to hold back on trying to help them too much. If they ask you for advice, the best advice you can give is for them to ask, seek and knock on God’s door. Even in discipleship, the goal is to make them dependent on Jesus, not on us.
It is much easier for God to explain why they don’t always get what they ask for than it is for us to give our opinion.
There have been plenty of times that I’ve asked other people to explain what God is doing and only been temporarily, if at all, comforted or satisfied with their response. Nearly every time that I have made the sincere effort to ask, seek, and knock (and sometimes argue and wrestle) with God, he satisfies and comforts me. Sometimes the comfort comes quickly, sometimes it takes years. If I continue seeking, he continues revealing until I find the door to move forward in my understanding of who he is and the unexplainable peace of his ways.
God offers and desires the most intimate relationship. Any appreciated relationship involves effort. How much effort are you putting into your relationship with God?
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