Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What I Learned from King Solomon ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What I Learned from King Solomon ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

King Solomon, I thought, had it easy. Too easy, in my opinion.

In a dream, God asks King Solomon what gift he'd like. And Solomon can choose anything - courage, strength, even money or fame. He chooses an understanding heart. Wisdom, so he can make good decisions for his people. And God is so pleased with Solomon's choice that He gives him every other good gift, too. (See I Kings 3:5-15.)

Though I liked the fact that Solomon chose an understanding heart instead of being greedy and wishing for lots of money, the whole thing still seemed a little unfair to me. Why wasn't God coming to me and asking what I wanted from Him, I wondered? I had a whole list of things if He only would. To be better at loving, for one thing. More patient, for another. And then there was humility, grace. Throw in an understanding heart, too - I could use it, I thought.

Everybody has things they wish they could be better at. One of my friends, for instance, was very, very shy. She didn't want to be this way, but she didn't know how to be any different. She could have used the kind of help God gave Solomon, too.

But that kind of help, I thought, wasn't for regular people like my friend and me. Only for kings in Bible times. And boy, was I unhappy about that.

You see, for the longest time, I felt inadequate no matter what I did. Like I wasn't good enough. When I looked around me, all I saw were people who were kinder, stronger, more loving. And so every day, I tried to be better. I asked God to help me be better. But even when I worked really, really hard on one of those qualities I felt I wasn't the best at, I still felt I was coming up short.

Until one day when I read the story again and it hit me: Maybe I was reading it all wrong.

It occurred to me that perhaps Solomon's story isn't so much about how special Solomon was that God would offer him all these gifts. Instead, it shows what it takes to have an understanding heart - to be graceful and loving and wise. And much to my surprise, I realized that what it takes has nothing to do with being a king or living in Bible times or even being "chosen," singled out for special gifts. …

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