July 27

A Son’s Greatest Wish

When I was in high school, there was a body shop across from my grandfather’s farm that had used cars for sale. One summer, there was a beautiful freshly painted yellow ’70 Plymouth Barracuda sitting front and center. In case you aren’t familiar, the Barracuda was a powerful sports car, created to compete with the Ford Mustang. And each day that dad and I would go to help grandpa farm that summer, I would gaze at that car and daydream about it day and night.

“Dad, can I PLEASE get that car,” I would beg. He would give excuses as to why it wasn’t wise for a Junior/Senior in high school to have that kind of car; the cost of insurance would be astronomical, who’d pay for gas, it was too expensive to maintain, it wasn’t practical. At night I’d dream about driving that car through the country watching the number of friends (boys and girls) skyrocket.

I can’t remember dad just coming out and saying ‘NO’ to that car. Maybe I blocked it from my memory. So if he didn’t answer with the word NO, I pestered and negotiated with tiny specs of hope. In 1986, I had no idea how unwise it would be for me to have such a car. I was seeking my own pleasure and dad was using wisdom.

Solomon was a son of King David, anointed by the Prophet Nathan to replace David after his death. Shortly after being made king, Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. That night in a dream, God appeared to the king and asked, “What should I give you?”

Can you imagine if God came to you and asked, “What should I give you?” The Creator of all things, God of the universe, comes and asks what should I give you. What would you say? During the summer of ‘86, I would have asked for that Barracuda. But what would you ask for if God came to you tonight with that question?

The young king responded with humility and thankfulness before saying, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil, for who can govern this your great people.” And the text goes on to say that the Lord was pleased with Solomon’s answer and because he didn’t ask for a long life, or riches, or for the death of enemies, God would provide him with a wise and discerning mind; like nobody before or after him.

What requests do you make to God? A trusted friend of mine who has been in ministry for years once said that he modeled prayer in the following order; thanks to God for his outpouring of blessings known and unknown, confession of sins, asking for forgiveness and the ability to forgive others, lifting up those who are sick/poor/lost/or in need, and asking God for wisdom in seeking his will.

Wisdom is treated like gold in the Bible. As a matter of fact, several books in Scripture are categorized as Wisdom Literature, such as Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning (Proverbs 9:9)” whereas in Proverbs 28:26 we read, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,” opposite of wise.

Reading the Gospel lesson today will require prayers for understanding and wisdom to glean meaning. Listen to the many and various ways that Jesus compares the Kingdom of heaven. It is like a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds yet it grows into large trees that create shelter for the birds. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that leavens bread. It is like a treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid, then sells all that he has to buy the land where found. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, and in finding one, sold all that he had to own it. And lastly, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea that caught fish of every kind.

There are so many comparisons to the kingdom of heaven. Is there a common theme or are each of these parables describing another aspect of divine mystery? Today I notice a couple of themes on the surface. Our understanding is as small as a mustard seed in regards to all knowledge, yet it is useful for helping others. A drop of yeast quickly leavens the whole loaf of bread just as faith of one person can affect many. The treasure and merchant parables are similar to other parables where Jesus asks the rich to sell all they have and follow Christ (the real treasure/pearl). And each of us are different like the various fish, but are still caught in the net of Christ’s salvation.

Those are the thoughts that came for today, but each parable has a lot of depth and meaning beyond my understanding. And as we seek God’s wisdom and will, he will continue speaking to those who are listening. Remember Jesus’ promise, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you (Matthew 7:7).” Amen.