What If We Are Not Entitled? Asking, Seeking, and Knocking in Community


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)

What if we are not entitled?

What if we don’t assume that anyone owes us anything, but in everything, we recognize that we have tremendous power through the simple act of asking?

Of seeking.

Of searching things, people, relationships, and understanding out.

Of knocking on doors and seeing who opens.

Relational Courage

It takes courage and humility to approach relationships this way.

Think immediate: the people closest to you. The ones who live in the next room, or on the other side of the bed. The people you always sit next to at church.

Think local. The barista at Starbucks. Your neighbours. The nice lady at the grocery store. The homeless man on the corner.

Think global. The Muslim from Pakistan. The church in Mexico you sometimes visit. The Japanese businessman you’re flying out to see.

Not one of them owes us a thing.

Every one of them represents possibility: in relationship, in personal growth, in understanding.

In love.

But we will not realize any of that by accident.

We must be courageous and humble, and we must ask, seek, and knock.

Like People, Like God

Most of us understand, I think, that relationships will not give back to us if we don’t invest in them. That we can’t be purely selfish in any relationship and have it turn out well.

We understand innately that selfishness isn’t the path to happiness, and neither is fear. The path to happiness, connection, community, and love are all the same: it’s the path of seeking, risking, and investing ourselves.

In a weird way, though, we understand this when it comes to people but not when it comes to God.

We can be surprised, even affronted, to discover that relationship with God will take work, and that while we can count on his grace, his faithfulness, and his unconditional love, he doesn’t owe us a thing.

If we want to know the richness of this relationship, we must come with courage and humility and give of ourselves.

Our time.

Our vulnerability.

Our efforts.

Sometimes our confused and hurt forgiveness.

(Yes, sometimes you have to forgive God. No, he isn’t guilty, but your heart may not understand that. So forgive to move forward.)

What Does Not Work

What does not work in relationship is pride.

Refusal to ask. Refusal to seek. Refusal to knock.

Refusal to be dependent on anyone, to need somebody to respond to you. To put yourself out on a limb where you might be rejected.

(Or is that last one fear?

Pride and fear may be more closely linked than we realize.)

We are afraid of people and afraid of God. We are afraid to give of ourselves. We are afraid of suffering.

Jesus invites us to overcome fear by embracing suffering. Die to yourself to find yourself. Take up your cross and follow him.

When we accept that some things will hurt us and that’s okay, we can go through life without being controlled by fear, and we can overcome pride and walk in humility.

It takes humility to turn the other cheek.

The same humility it takes to be loved.

When Was the Last Time?

When was the last time you intentionally made yourself vulnerable to someone else? To God, or to another person?

When was the last time you turned the other cheek?
When was the last time you let curiosity, care, and connection lead?

Entitlement hurts us and others.

But asking, in a way that risks rejection and dares making us look foolish, will open doors.

When was the last time you made a friend?

When was the last time you were real with God?

A Way of Life

Asking, seeking, and knocking are a way of life. They will shape our approach to life, to learning, to prayer, to the Scriptures, to other people, to ourselves, and to God himself.

I love that Jesus doesn’t tell us, in Matthew 7:7, what we are supposed to seek. It’s open. Seek whatever you want to find. Ask whatever you want to know. Knock on any door you want to see opened.

Come at life actively, making choices, searching things out.

There are times to be passive, but if we do that all the time, we are probably dead.

God invites us into an adventure. He urges us to come exploring. To take initiative. To start things.

This is a way of humility and of risk, and it turns out, it’s what freedom and joy really look like.


(This is Part 87 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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One response to “What If We Are Not Entitled? Asking, Seeking, and Knocking in Community”

  1. Kit Tosello Avatar

    Love this, Rachel!

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