In today’s Daily Audio Bible reading, there’s an interesting juxtaposition of Solomon’s story where he asks for wisdom (1 Kings 3:3 – 4:34) and the New Testament account of the early church choosing servant leaders (men “full of the wisdom and the Spirit” – Acts 6).
Solomon Prays for Wisdom
5 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.”
6 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 son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “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. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.9 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?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. (1 Kings 3:5-10)
The Message translation renders wisdom as “a God-listening heart”. The Amplified Bible translation says verse 9 this way:
“9 So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad.
Three Insights from Solomon’s Story
1. First, the source of Wisdom, or insight for making the best decisions, comes from God.
2. Second, discernment is perhaps the most necessary and critical thinking tool for leaders.
Often the issue at hand may not appear clearly so much as “right or wrong”, but as to determine what is “good, better, or best”.
3. Third, to “govern”, or lead people well, we need the Holy Spirit to both empower our intellect (“an understanding mind”) as well as inspire our emotions (” a hearing heart”).
At the end of the day, most of our decisions are emotional decisions to some degree.
As with many things related to following the Lord, these ideas may seem obvious and common sense, but common sense is not always common practice. (I’ve written about this from another angle in this post.)
How Servant-Leaders Are Appointed To Do God’s Work
(NIV) Brothers and sisters,choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.
(MSG) So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task.
(AMP) Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character and repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty.
Three Insights from the Acts 6 Story
1. First, we see those in spiritual leadership recognized there was a related but different “practical” ministry area that needed Godly leadership for the task at hand and to solve the problem they were dealing with (caring for the needy).
They did not see this as an inferior ministry. Even though this was “behind the scenes”, it required first rate leaders with the skill set to be successful. (Full of wisdom and the Spirit).
The “job” was important.
2. Second, evidence that God had been at work transforming the lives of these potential leaders was a prerequisite. So, those who knew these men would have been able to see the presence of the Holy Spirit active in their lives.
They would have witnessed these candidates as bearing the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control in their regular, everyday lifestyle.
This is what made them men who were known to be of good reputation, of attested character, and of whom everyone could trust.
3. Third, these servant leaders were called and appointed because they had demonstrated they were the right kind of people.
The Holy Spirit had prepared and positioned them to be promoted to a challenging new ministry assignment.
A Note To My Younger Self
My friend, if I were to write a note of encouragement today to you as I would to my younger self, I would say something like this…
Go deep in the things of God. Like, Solomon, ask for wisdom and greater revelation.
Like those first followers of Jesus, ask to filled and transformed by the presence of Holy Spirit.
“Ask and you will receive!’
Then press in for more. Be patient. Say “yes” when the Lord opens a door for you, though it may not seem very “important”.
Be the right kind of person first and foremost. Start there.
May the Holy Spirit today fill you with all the fullness of His Wisdom and the Spirit.
Serve the Lord with gladness. Amen.