Wisdom and Who Matters ~ The Rt. Rev. Michael R. Beckett, OPI
Long ago in a galaxy far away….no. Wait! I mean…..Long ago in a COUNTRY far away….yeah, that’s better… there was a young king. And said young king, (we’ll call him Sol, coz that was his name) wasn’t really sure about this king-business. He was a good and responsible young man, but he just wasn’t sure he had what it took to do king stuff, you know, like run a country, protect his people, all that stuff. He lost sleep over it. One night, he actually managed to get to sleep and he had this dream……and in this dream, God appeared to him and said, “Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.”
Now, Sol, like we said, wasn’t really sure about his king-stuff he had goin’ on, and he recognized that this was his chance to be able to handle it, so he said, “Lord God, I’m your servant, and you’ve made me king in my father’s place. But I’m very young and know so little about being a leader. And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count. Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don’t, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.
God said: DUDE!!!!! I’m pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. So I’ll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live. 1 Kings 3:5;7-12 (the Bible translation according to me)
So….We have the leader of a great nation who has asked for and been granted wisdom. Solomon, also called Jedidiah, was, according to the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament), Quran, and Hadiths, a fabulously wealthy and wise king of the United Kingdom of Israel who succeeded his father, King David. The conventional dates of Solomon’s reign are about 970 to 931 BCE. According to the Talmud, Solomon is one of the 48 prophets. In the Quran, he’s considered a major prophet, and Muslims generally refer to him by the Arabic variant Sulayman, son of David. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) identifies him as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem, beginning in the fourth year of his reign, using the vast wealth he and his father had accumulated. He dedicated the temple to Yahweh, the God of Israel. He is portrayed as great in wisdom, wealth and power beyond either of the previous kings of the country.
We all know the saying, “As wise as Solomon.” So, what is wisdom? According to the dictionary, wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The whole of Proverbs 8, tells us what wisdom is and it is Wisdom (Jesus) who speaks to us. Verses 12 and 13 (especially 13) are especially important: 12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech. Isn’t that, yet again, a paraphrase of The Golden Rule? Lemme repeat that for ya: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others the way you want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12) And again in Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40) That, my friends, is wisdom according to Jesus.
When we live out the golden rule, and truly love others, we are a witness for the gospel because we live in a way the world doesn’t because the world doesn’t give without getting. The world doesn’t really care. According to the world, NO lives matter. We must live our lives and be a witness to the power of the gospel. When we live out the Golden Rule, we also promote peace and societal flourishing. In other words, we make the world a better place, and give others a glimpse of what the world to come will look like simple by doing unto others what we would have them do to us. Live so that every person with whom you come into contact realizes that they matter, regardless of who they are. Prove to the world that we believe what Jesus said. Throughout his earthly ministry:
Jesus said, “Samaritan lives matter.”
Jesus said, “Children’s lives matter.”
Jesus said, “Gentile lives matter.”
Jesus said, “Jewish lives matter.”
Jesus said, “Women’s lives matter.”
Jesus said, “Lepers’ lives matter.”
Prove to the world that we, as followers of Jesus, are wise enough to believe that:
Black lives matter.
Gay lives matter.
Indian lives matter.
Trans lives matter.
Homeless lives matter.
Republican lives matter.
Democrats lives matter.
Police lives matter.
Protesters lives matter.
Jesus died for all of us. Jesus died for you. Shouldn’t we, in all wisdom, act accordingly?
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