Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
1 Kings 3:9 (ESV)
Solomon was wise in his request and thus God gave him a discerning mind (wisdom) to lead God’s people. And this request is also my request, not because I am wise in asking for this but rather I am realistic. I look at the congregation God has called me to lead and I am not so vain to think that God called me here because I am so wise. On the contrary, God called me here because God wants to use me to do something great for His church, and thus all glory goes to God. Yet, I am overwhelmed and scared silly at the task at hand. As I pray each week, Oh God, I am not a good speaker or preacher and thus if this task were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin, I also plead with God using Solomon’s request:
Oh God, give your servant an understanding mind to lead your church, that I may discern between good and evil, and what your will is; for who is able to lead your great church.
This is my prayer.
This is my request.
And may this be the prayer for all pastors and leaders in the church. May we never be so vain as to think that we are good enough or talented enough to lead in the church. The day that vain ambition takes over in a leader’s heart is the day the church heads down the road to destruction; following a leader that has lost their way. Learn and study Solomon’s request and make it your own.
Grant me a discerning mind, oh God, that I may lead your church rightly;
Grant me wisdom, oh God, that I may seek Your will;
Grant me understanding, oh God, that I may teach others rightly;
for this call is too great for me to do alone.
All glory be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen
The Pastor -|—
Not a creature is stirring, not even the church bats.
For many, the silence here could be deafening but for me it is welcomed. Release time, confirmation and Wednesday Night Live are done for the year. My secretary doesn’t work on Wednesdays. My cell phone is on vibrate. The lights are off (except for the light shining through my office window). And the only potential noise is the church phone or a surprise visitor (both of which may startle me if they happen). So for the time being I am enjoying the silence (I just wish I could fix this squeaky desk chair then all would be good).
I do have things to accomplish today (and they will get done) but this pastor needs some silence for a while:
 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12 ESV)
 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10 ESV)
Hmmm…God encourages silence, day dreaming and just being still. I like that. You don’t need to be moving all the time to be doing the work of the Lord. You don’t need to be talking all the time to be communing with God. You don’t need to be with people all the time to be productive. Sometimes it is just about you and God; alone, together and in silence.
But don’t take my word for it, read your Bible.
Silence your phone.
Lock your door.
Hide from the world.
Resist the blinking notification lights on your phone or tablet.
Don’t respond to that text message you just got.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
You have God’s permission.
The pastor -|—
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser that man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 & 25)
When we rely on our own knowledge and wisdom we get things wrong: We think we know how to treat people, but we don’t. We think we know what is right for the church, but we don’t. We think we are judging people appropriately, but we aren’t. When we rely on our knowledge and wisdom we miss the big picture, people get hurt and we don’t see the wisdom of God.
In the grant scheme of things, knowledge is easy to acquire, but true wisdom takes time. Wisdom takes patience and prayer. King Solomon did not pretend to know how to rule Israel. He did not attempt to rule Israel on his own. Solomon did not attempt to use his own (limited) knowledge and wisdom (see 1 Kings 5) to lead people. But Solomon, when asked by God for anything, asks for wisdom to lead. We can learn a lot from Solomon.
We can’t pretend to know how to act in the church without faithfully listening to God. We can’t pretend to know what is the best way to treat people without faithfully listening to God. We can’t pretend to be “wise” without asking God for wisdom and then being faithful in listening to God. True wisdom comes from God. True wisdom sees people on an equal “playing field”. True wisdom does not judge certain people better or more worthy than others. True wisdom is humble and gracious. True wisdom seeks reconciliation.
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
If we truly want to see and know God, we need to rely on the wisdom that only comes from God. The foolishness of the cross is salvation…to undeserving people. And those undeserving people are none other than YOU and ME. So let’s us give thanks to God for his “foolishness”. Let us seek God and ask for his wisdom. Let praise God always and forever. Amen.