|Clay Morgan wrote today's devotional. Clay is a writer, teacher, and speaker on his way from Pittsburgh to Dallas. He is the author of Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, & Reborn, a book about spiritual life, Jesus, and what it means to be truly alive. He writes at www.NorvilleRogers.com and tweets @ClayMorganPA.
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 sonto 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. 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.”
-- 1 Kings 3:5-14
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a massive undertaking? Maybe you felt unprepared when you took a new job or woke up on your wedding day or found out you would be responsible for an entirely new human.
I've never approached Christmas as one who is about to embark on a great journey, far away from home. But this year, I'm about to move across the country, from Pittsburgh to Dallas, from the known to the unfamiliar. My heart flips between hopeful anticipation and nervous uncertainty.
We can sort of relate to Solomon, who suddenly found himself in charge of a nation. "I am but a little child," he said. "I do not know how to go out or come in."
Acknowledging he was only prominent because of who his father was (King David), Solomon went to Gibeon—the holiest place in Palestine—and presented the biggest sacrifice recorded in scripture. He did not take lightly the task before him.
Solomon anticipated an overwhelming calling. The anticipation gave him pause. How could anyone handle so great a responsibility? The young king worshiped God by day, and the Lord appeared to him by night through a dream, basically saying, "I got you."
I bet Joseph (another "son of David") could relate when he found out his fiancé was pregnant. If any humans ever were justified in feeling unprepared for a calling beyond themselves, it would have to be the human mama and papa of God incarnate. Joseph wasn't sure what to do, but God appeared to him at night in a dream. "I got you."
Compared to Solomon, Joseph, and Mary, our futures seem to hold less stakes for humanity, but God has just as much interest and concern for our coming days as theirs.
A lot of people wish to know God's will for their life, the magic answer we need to get everything right by doing all the things we're supposed to do. But Solomon didn't ask God what to do. Instead, he focused on how to be. His asked for wisdom. When Joseph faced a daunting future he didn't need a checklist of what kind of father to be. He needed to be obedient.
God blessed them because wisdom is obedience. We are not called to be perfect, just obedient.
Easier said than done, sure. But what are you being called to do?
Maybe like Solomon, God is calling you to lead. Where is your holy place? Go somewhere spiritually significant and offer yourself willingly to his service.
Maybe like Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary, God is calling you to return to a place you once called home.
Maybe you're in the same boat as me, leaving the place you've always called home.
During this season of anticipation, we remember the moment in time when heaven intersected earth more powerfully than ever so that God could personally intersect our lives through his son Jesus. Regardless of where we are, God calls us to obey, to follow the example of his son and go to a place of need.
The wisest thing we can do is ask God what we should do. Most of us won't get a personal visit from the Almighty in our dreams, but that's okay. He's already told us what to do, and that is to go to places where we can serve others by becoming the hands of a heavenly father who hears the cries of his children.
Solomon, Joseph, Mary, us. We all face an unknown future, and we spent this Advent in spirit of anticipation. Preparing. Now, on this last day of 2014, as we look forward, it's time to ask God for intersections you can step into. Look for them & they will appear. Then go obediently, in the same way Jesus left heaven.
God of Christmas,
Thank you for reminding me again today that "You got me." You have been preparing me for something in this new year, and today I pray you make that clear to me. Show me where you would have me to go and I commit to follow you.
SERVICE -- You may see multiple places where you can serve someone. Pick one, and when the obvious place to go is scary, be obedient and roll your sleeves up. It might get messy, but you also might save someone's life.
Don't forget to share your thoughts with #CatRow