Thursday, June 16, 2011

Your Greatest Need in this Hour

Recently on Facebook I posed the following question: What is your greatest need in this hour? Many provided their feedback with such answers as patience, love, peace, and stronger faith.

This question was provoked within as I contemplated upon a passage in 1 Kings 3:5-15.

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “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. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

Note how the Lord asks Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” This is quite impressive (why would the Lord ask a mere man this very question?).

How would you answer this direct question from the Lord if it were posed to you?

Solomon’s response PLEASED the Lord. As I reflected upon this very question for myself, I knew that my own response certainly wouldn’t please the Lord though it would be cloaked in all the right words; and it would appear to be for a cause to further His kingdom (but in reality, it is more fixated upon building my own reputation, career, success, etc.). I became aware that perhaps what I thought was my greatest need in this hour was more of a reflection of my own "desire" versus a true need. Often I think I know what I need, but obviously there's wisdom from above that can shed greater light upon this question for each of us. However, many of us—myself included—are not able to distinguish between what we really need as seen from the Lord’s vantage point versus what we want.

Let me explain.

After investing much thought into this question, I'm more convinced that what I need more than anything else is humility (I know this can sound so cliché within religious circles, which is definitely not my aim here). There is a humility that is genuinely birthed out of a pliable heart before the Lord and it doesn't reek of an old religious corpse—it originates from an authentic revelation of God’s nature and character as revealed through Christ Jesus. It is pride the seeps into my heart that seeks to garner attention, to be successful in my vocation so that I may be deemed as noteworthy (versus a failure). I could ask for favor, but my motivation often is that it would be used to further my professional ambitions instead truly honoring the Lord through my vocational pursuits. We need heaven’s perspective so that we aren’t caught up in pursuing our own vainglory at the expense of the honor that’s due Him—and Him alone.

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