Today I started thinking about a certain practical concern, and I decided to pray about it.
I prayed something like this: “Lord, I’d appreciate it if you’d provide _______ for me. However, there’s lots of people in greater need, so if the answer is no, I’ll understand.”
I thought this a very mature kind of prayer. I’ve always had Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 1 in mind when I pray: “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (NIV). God responds, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor…, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor….” (v.11-12).
The lesson I drew from this as a child was, “Don’t ask for much. God will be pleased with your humility, and maybe He’ll throw in some goodies as a reward.”
But it occurred to me today (and you adults probably knew this already) that that’s not the point at all.
Solomon doesn’t ask for small things. Wisdom and knowledge aren’t small. What he’s asking for is precisely the tools he needs in order to do the work God has set before him. He’s asking God to equip him for his vocation.
Passive-aggressiveness is a sickness of the soul. Also I’m pretty sure God can’t be manipulated into rewarding me for fake humility.
I wonder if I’ll ever live long enough to grow up.
I’ll be taking another blog-break until Monday evening. I’ll be in Decorah, Iowa for the Nordic Fest, playing Viking, live-steel fighting, and selling a few books (I hope). If you’re in the area, stop by. The Viking encampment is next to the Vesterheim museum.