Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 16: Year 1
“It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right;” (1st Kings 3:10 and 11)
Solomon wanted God to equip him to be able to live into the responsibility he was born into. He did not ask for self-serving traits that would make him stand out among others solely for the purpose of being recognized by others as special. He wanted to be able to do God’s work in, and for, his community.
This is the way God still works. Any gift that we have is not for us alone. It is given to us to be used for the enhanced quality of life for the community in which we live. It doesn’t matter what kind of gift we are given. From singing to sports to healing to serving or just plain listening; we are given these gifts for the benefit of others.
Every human being has the capacity to receive and use God’s gifts among us. This is why is so tragic when someone dies. What gifts from God, perhaps not yet made manifest, did they take to the grave with them? Every person is a treasure. Every person is an empty cup waiting to be filled with whatever the community needs. God sees what we need and then blesses various people with what we need. This is God’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Like Solomon, we must first love our community and want to see it flourish. It is then we go to God asking for whatever is needed that will enable us to be of service to others. We should not assume to already know what our community needs. But rather, look to God who knows far better than we do what is needed. Emptying our cup in this way invites God to fill us with what is needed. And, like Solomon, God often blesses us with even more for ourselves, but we shouldn’t ask for gifts for selfish reasons. We ask out of an abundance of love for our neighbors.
Let us live to love, serve and teach, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying through the saints and to us, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John