To Seek and Keep on Seeking: Jesus’ Call to Continual Exploration


Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

Matthew 7:7 describes a fundamental way of life. It is an approach to all of life that changes who we become.

It’s also one of “my” verses, one of those Scriptures that sums up the way I try to live and the reason I try to live that way.

It summons us to cultivate hunger, to be curious, to look, to ask, to act like a child who wants to know. To know what, to know where, to know who, to know why.

Jesus doesn’t tell us what to ask for, what to seek, what doors to knock on. He just says do it: make your life about seeking.

I’m an insatiable learner. I love this verse because I can apply it, and easily. I love it because it validates my inner drive to learn.

Of the many open invitations in Scripture, this is one of my favorites.

It’s a call not to get bored. A blow against complacency. It strikes at laziness and apathy and jadedness like the call of an older brother urging a younger, “Come on, let’s go! There’s so much more to see.”


I love Jesus for this: he stirs up my sense of wonder and makes me excited about life again.


When I was nine years old I lived on the edge of a northern Canadian wilderness: the rocky, marshy, blueberried woods and hills of the Canadian shield lands around Lakes Huron and Superior in northern Ontario. There were bears out there, and wolves too. There were loons and herons and frogs that croaked and chirped all night. Sometimes from our back deck we could hear the long, haunting song of a whip-poor-will. We lived on the edge of a pond, and beyond that was a railroad track and then acres and acres of forest.

I loved it.

There was so much to see. In every season, something new to explore. That was childhood to me: the great outdoors calling, hinting at magic like I read about in books, thousands of secrets.

Ask, seek, knock.

With age, boredom threatens to set in. We’ve seen it all a million times, so we stop seeing it. We have things to do, usually the same things over and over again, so we lose our curiosity and our energy and our desire to explore.

Get it back, Jesus says.

This is how we live.


In the landscape of modern Christianity this is one trend I protest: that we tend to come at doctrine and spiritual things as something to learn, then shut the textbook and get on with life.

We may even look suspiciously at any suggestion that we should instead treat the Bible, theology, and relationship with God as something to explore. That we should try to find answers that aren’t obvious, that we should suspect some of our conclusions, that we should keep asking, seeking, and knocking even if thousands of years of history assure us we’ve already got all the answers.

To be clear: I do believe we have all the answers.

But I don’t think we’ve explored them.

You may possess a gold mine. That doesn’t mean you’ve extracted all the gold.

You may have a door. But have you walked through it?


A life calling to ask, seek, and knock is humbling. You can’t do it without embracing humility, because to live this way is to embrace being a learner, a novice, a disciple. You have to embrace what Seth Godin calls “the feeling of stupid” (“Stupid is the emotion we associate with learning—we are stupid and then we are not.”)

Asking means you don’t know. Seeking means you haven’t found. Knocking means you need someone else to open the door.

To live this way means to be always open-handed, empty-handed, ready and eager to receive. It is the opposite of coming in as the teacher, the guru, the one who knows everything and may or may not dole it out.

You may end up teaching a lot along the way. Learners make the best teachers, passing along what they’ve found to those who are just behind them on the path, and learning from those who are just ahead, and cross-pollinating with those who are coming alongside.

But you should never trust a teacher who doesn’t want to learn.

Ask, seek, knock. This is what my friend Kris Kile would call a “posture of the heart.”

Live to receive. Come humble and hungry.

When you do, the world is here for you.


(This is Part 83 in a series on the Gospel of Matthew, which you can access here. Unless otherwise marked, quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

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2 responses to “To Seek and Keep on Seeking: Jesus’ Call to Continual Exploration”

  1. Dan Avatar

    I keep this quote displayed in my office:
    “Listen to no man (person) who fails to listen to God.”

    This coincides well with your thoughts on this passage. I continue to appreciate your insights. We enjoy seeing the piece of gold no matter who found it.

  2. Rebecca Avatar

    Yep, most of the greatest chunks of gold I, too, found only in the depth of despair and dry lands. God is so good

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