FIRST-PERSON: The staple of seeking

by Rhonda Rhea, posted Monday, July 23, 2018 (24 days ago)

TROY, Mo. (BP) -- Nobody knows the staples I've seen. In my last trip through my junk drawer, I found staples, then more staples. I found giant staples. I found tiny little baby staples. What could those baby ones possibly do? Attach tiny baby papers to other tiny baby papers?

The weird part was not so much the number of staples, though there were more than any normal person would have. The weird part wasn't even the fact that there were so many sizes, shapes and colors, though it was a rainbow assortment.

No, the weird part was that I found no stapler. Not one.

I searched diligently for one -- any size, any shape, any color. And then I searched again because it didn't make sense that I would have all these stapler-less staples. What was I even supposed to do with all those homeless, jobless staples?

I wish I could tell you that only happens in my junk drawer. Or that it's only about staples. But I just finished digging through my purse for about 20 minutes, searching for a business card that I'd stuck in there a few days ago.

Would you like to know what I found instead? Well, besides the candy bar of unknown origin, or age, I found the list I spent 20 minutes searching for yesterday, proving once again that it's not just about the looking, it's also about the overlooking. And, multitasker that I am, I can do both simultaneously. Even while eating a candy bar. (Don't judge. It was chocolate. It's not like I had a choice.)

I was also rummaging around in Scripture the other day -- though it was an entirely different kind of rummaging -- and the word "seek" caught my attention: "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!" (Psalm 105:4 ESV).

I may look for a stapler, look for a business card, look for a list, look for the keys, but no search is as vital as this one. It's a three-pronged search that I never, ever want to overlook. We're told to seek the Lord, seek His strength and seek His presence. And we're told to do this searching "continually."

It's a high search. To seek the Lord is to actively desire a connection with Him. It happens through reading His Word, talking and listening to Him through prayer, giving Him attention through worship -- and keeping fervent our desire to know Him more and more. These are the real and necessary staples of a victorious faith life. This is no junk search. This is about the looking. And the never overlooking. Not multi-tasking. Singularly focused.

Seeking God's strength is recognizing that all power is His and that there's nothing we can do in this life without His empowering. Seeking His presence is understanding that He is in us and that He's at work around us. It's surrendering to Him, asking for His filling. It encompasses a stubbornly determined, unrelenting desire to love Him more completely and serve Him more passionately.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 is a familiar passage that confirms the need for wholeheartedness in our search: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart."

Guess what happens when we seek the Lord continually. All the other searches in life fall into perspective. Search for significance? Search for identity? Search for calling and places of ministry? Searching for the Lord first, foremost, passionately and continually brings joy into all those other searches. The verse right before says, "Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!" (Psalm 105:3).

A heart that's rightly seeking God is a heart that will rejoice. I want to glorify His holy name in the way that I seek. It really is a staple when it comes to walking out our faith fruitfully and joyfully. I want to be all about that looking -- never the overlooking. It's definitely a key element in a life well-lived.

Rhonda Rhea is a pastor's wife, mom, speaker and author. This column is adapted from SBC LIFE based on one of her chapters in "Messy to Meaningful -- Lessons from the Junk Drawer" (Bold Vision Books, 2018) by Rhonda Rhea, Kaley Rhea and Monica Schmelter. Rhea and her husband Richie serve at First Baptist Church in Troy, Mo.
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