Once upon a time, a rich man threw a wild party. About midnight, he brought all his guests out to his pool, which he had filled with man-eating sharks, and said “If anyone can swim across the pool to the other side, you can have the pick of my ranch, a million dollars or my daughter’s hand in marriage. Your choice!” No sooner had he spoke these words when a young man began to frantically swim from one end to the other. He emerged from the other end of the pool all cut up but alive. The host, quite surprised that anyone would take him up on his offer, asked the man what he wanted – a million dollars, his ranch, or his daughter’s hand in marriage. The young man said he wanted none of them. “Well, what do you want,” he asked, “I will give it to you if I can?” To this, the young man replied, “I just want to know the name of the person who pushed me into the pool.”
What if the Lord came to you and said, “I will give you whatever you want and you don’t need to swim across a shark filled pool to get it? You can have anything your heart desires.” What would you wish for? That would be a tough decision, especially if we had to make it right away.
Many years ago, the Lord came to a man named Solomon and made him this very offer. God came to Solomon shortly after he had ascended to the throne of the nation of Israel. Solomon could have asked for riches, success over his enemies, a long life or the winning numbers for the lottery. Solomon chose none of these things. Instead he asked for wisdom. Listen to what he said, “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?” (I Kings 3:8-9)
Solomon asks for A DISCERNING HEART. In the Hebrew it is literally A HEART THAT HEARS. Not just hears the sounds of the words but listens to them, understands them and is then able to know how best to handle the situation. Solomon demonstrated this gift on many occasions. In fact, he became famous throughout the world for his wisdom. A great many of his proverbial sayings are recorded for us by God in Scripture.
What would you ask for if God made you an offer like the one he made to Solomon? If we had only one wish, it would be tough. Thank God we have no such limits. Jesus’ invitation is open ended. “Ask, and it will be given to you!” (Matthew 7:7) This invitation is offered only to God’s children, to believers. Believers know that when we pray, we submit our requests to God for review. We often add the words, “Thy will, not mine be done.” We should not pray selfishly, set our heart on worldly things such as money, power, or glory.
We learn from Solomon that we should ask the Lord for the gifts we need to do the work God has set before us. When we ask God for love, joy, peace, comfort, support, forgiveness, etc., we know God is pleased with such requests and will gladly answer them. Jesus says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt 6:33)