Nobody knows the staples I’ve seen. In my last trip through my junk drawer, oh man. I found staples. And then more staples. Then some giant staples. Then 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 approximately eighty billion. The weird part wasn’t even the fact that there were so many sizes, shapes, and colors, though it was an eighty-billion-part 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 ten tons of 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 twenty minutes, desperately searching for a business card that I’d stuck in there a few days ago. Know what I found instead? Yeah, besides the candy bar of unknown origin. Or age. I found instead the list I spent twenty minutes searching for yesterday. I have proven once again that it’s not just about the looking. It’s also about the overlooking. And, multi-tasker 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.)
My husband doesn’t judge. He doesn’t tease me when I have a truckload of stapler-less staples in my junk drawer or when I can’t find something in my purse. One reason is that he’s a really nice guy. I’m pretty sure the other reason is that he knows I see his office at church on a regular basis. Not that I’m comparing Richie’s office to a junk drawer or to my purse or anything. Nevertheless, I have to say, if he added nail polish, some lip gloss, and a travel-sized can of hairspray, I could picture myself putting a shoulder strap on that office and hauling it to the mall to find shoes to match. We recently had to rummage through his office on a hunt for his keys. We searched high and low before we found those rascals. I was glad to make it out of there in one piece. And without tetanus.
Today I was also rummaging around in Scripture—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—even look for the candy bar I didn’t know I had. 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 actively to desire a connection with Him. It happens through reading His Word, through talking and listening to Him in prayer, through giving Him attention through worship—and through keeping fervent our desire to know Him more and more (Philippians 3:10). These are the real and necessary staples of a victorious faith life. This is no junk search. This is about looking—and never overlooking. Not multi-tasking. Singularly focused.
Seeking God’s strength is recognizing that all might 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 (ESV).
Guess what happens when we seek the Lord continually? All the other searches in life fall into perspective. Search for significance? Search for identity in the pastor’s wife role—and all the other roles? Search for calling and places of ministry? Searching for the Lord first, foremost, passionately, and continually brings joy into all those other searches. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! (Psalm 105:3, ESV)
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. So I do want to be all about that looking. Never the overlooking. It’s definitely a key element in a life well-lived.
Incidentally, on a whole different plane, any time you find a “key element,” you might want to make sure you don’t leave it in your husband’s office. Or your purse.
Rhonda Rhea is a pastor’s wife, mom, speaker, and author, and regular contributor to the Missouri Baptist Pathway. She and her husband serve at First Baptist Church in Troy, Missouri. Adapted from 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.