Matthew 7:7, 9, 11, 12 (NASB95)
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. . . .
9 “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? . . .
11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! . . .
12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
I have always wondered what this passage meant. Is this scripture promising me anything I want if I just ask? Or, more spiritual, promising me anything I ask that is God’s will? Why does God say that what he gives is the best (even if I don’t recognize it as such?). And, what does the Golden Rule have to do with me getting what I want? Do I earn what I want by being kind to others?
One way to sum up the Bible is: Love God, love people.
Can I use this to guide my interpretation?
In verse 12 Jesus says: Always, therefore, love other people (my summary). To me, “therefore” means that to accomplish the previous verses I need to love others. Does that mean I earn what I want by loving others?
Or, does it mean that what I really want (God’s best “loaf”) is to love others?
If I ask, seek, and knock to have God give me love to give to others – he will. When he gives me that love I may not recognize it as the best. But if I choose to treat others the way I want to be treated, God will love that person through me. And joy for – the other person, and me, and God – is the result.