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A few weeks ago I heard a sermon about wisdom.
I wisely took notes, then lost them and forgot much of what the pastor said.
But I do remember one thing. He said God came to King Solomon in a dream and said he could ask for anything and he’d give it to him.
What’s the one thing you want most, Sol? Riches? Power? A BMW and a penthouse overlooking the city? Good health? Long life? A soft-serve ice cream machine out by the pool?
Solomon acknowledged God’s great kindness to his father, King David, and now to him as king of Israel.
“But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties,” Solomon told God. “(I am) here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.”
He asked God for wisdom to govern the people and to know right from wrong. That’s the kind of request that God loves and always grants.
God told Solomon, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked.”
Then he gave Solomon what he didn’t ask for – both riches and honor. (See 1 Kings 3:1-15)
Here’s the question of the day: If you were guaranteed to get it, what would you ask God for?
Recently, I found a blog, “The Gathering Church,” written by Mark Acuff. He’s starting a church in the Chapel Hill-Durham, N.C. area.
In his May 13 post he confessed that he wants a life that doesn’t require much faith, although I don’t think that’s something he’d specifically ask God for. But stuff like that we ask for just by the way we live.
Acuff writes, “I would rather have a life that is so secure, so safe and set that it requires little faith to live it. Sure, even the safest life requires some faith, but not much.”
Basically, that’s what I would ask God for, although I would call it “security” (followed by ease and comfort).
Above everything else, I want security. I hate, hate, hate not knowing how things will work out. I don’t mind problems as long as I know their solutions by the time the 10 o’clock news starts.
I want a bottomless bank account and a guarantee signed by God himself that my kids will always be fine (by my definition).
I want blessed assurance that a tornado won’t topple my house in the middle of the night and that my car won’t need an expensive module or injector – ever. I want guaranteed national safety and prosperity – and I don’t want my friends to move away.
In other words, I want a life that doesn’t require much faith.
Mark, the blog-writing church planter, said a friend told him he was nuts to start a church in this terrible economy. He had recently left an incredibly successful church and admitted that this new work requires exercising more faith than he preferred.
He realized, however, that his (and I would add my) “natural inclination to have a secure life that needs little faith ends up being a life that needs very little God. The deadly part of security and safety is getting used to living without God.”
He’s right, you know. Without the need for faith, I have no need for God – and without needing him I miss out on experiencing him working on my behalf – and the stuff God does can be really cool.
Contrary to popular belief, God does not help those who help themselves. He helps those who need him and who know they need him and who know that without him they are without hope.
Solomon knew this, and Mark the blogger knows this, and so do I.
Although I dearly love security, I’m not quite willing to give up needing God.