“Do you ever shop over at Harold’s Hardware?” Stan asked me one morning.
“Sure,” I replied. “I like Harold and he seems to have most everything I ever need. Why do you ask?”
“Well,” Stan said rather sheepishly, “I made a mistake yesterday by going to that new gigantic hardware store in Cedarville. I should have gone to Harold’s in the first place, but I wanted to see what that big store looked like.”
“Why was it a mistake?” I asked.
“Too big,” Stan replied. “I was looking for something pretty simple, but couldn’t find it. I asked one clerk who said he couldn’t help me because he didn’t know anything about that department. He told me I would have to go ask someone else.”
“After being told the same thing by three clerks, that I needed to ask someone else, I finally got to the right department and was told I couldn’t be helped because they didn’t have what I was looking for.”
“I came back and went to Harold’s,” Stan said. “I told Harold what I was looking for, he walked down one of his aisles and picked up exactly what I needed.”
“That’s Harold for you,” I said. “You should have asked him first.”
“Exactly,” Stan replied, “and I saw the same thing in Matthew’s gospel the other day.”
“What same thing?”
“The importance of not only asking the right question, but the importance of asking the right person.”
“Was someone looking for something they couldn’t find?” I asked.
“Yeah, kind of,” Stan replied. “It’s the story about the disciples who were left behind when Jesus, along with Peter, James, and John, went up on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured, but the transfiguration is another story for another day. Here I want to focus on the disciples who stayed down below.”
“Why were they left behind?” I asked.
“I really have no idea,” Stan replied, “maybe it was so this story could be told! But the ‘why’ is not important.”
“What is important here?”
“There was a father with a very sick son,” Stan replied. “He was looking for someone to heal his son. He had asked the disciples who didn’t go up on the mountain to cure him, but they couldn’t. Rather than leaving and going elsewhere, the father patiently waited to find the right person to ask.”
“Who was that?”
“Jesus,” Stan replied. “And what this shows me is the importance of asking the right person. In this instance, the father, rather than leaving when the disciples couldn’t cure his son, waited for Jesus. When Jesus got there, the father approached Him and asked Him to heal his son.”
“Not only did Jesus heal the man’s son,” Stan said, “it showed me an essential lesson about who I ask to do what. People have obvious limitations in what they can do; God does not. If I trust in and rely on people, I’m likely to be severely disappointed. God does not disappoint. I just have to remember that He is the right One to ask, and that I am to ask Him first!”
Bible verses to consider:
When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, “Lord have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” Matthew 17:14-16.
Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer. You know all of my needs and wants before I ever come to you, but you want me to come and ask so I will know you better by seeing your provision. I confess that too often I do not come to you in the first instance, but I try to rely on myself or on others who cannot help me. Please forgive the foolishness of not coming to you first every time. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, come to you first to seek, find, and embrace everything you have for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Whose help do you seek first in every situation you face? Do you rely on yourself, on others, or do you go before God in prayer to see and to hear what He has for you? If you sense the need for greater reliance on God and His provision for every aspect of the life He has given you to live, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?