We learn by experience, just what we don’t know. Recently, I did my first ever (and quite possibly my last) video sermon. It didn’t take long to figure out, that not only am I not an expert in technology, but I also don’t know much about staging. This was a learning experience, with more trial and way more error than I anticipated . . . from equipment I didn’t have, to sound quality on my phone and the best place in my home to record.
Solomon already knew what he didn’t know when he became king of Israel. He didn’t know how to lead a nation and had not planned on it. He was not the logical successor to his father David. But after David’s death, at his father’s desire, he was crowned King. Solomon’s first years were filled with power plays, manipulation and maneuvering for position on the part of those who served in his administration.
Distressed by what he was dealing with, Solomon decided to go into the hills to worship and to pray. That night, while he slept, God came to him in a dream, saying, “What shall I give you, tell me.” Solomon doesn’t ask for money, wealth or even to defeat his enemies. He knows in the deepest part of his being, he cannot rule without wisdom. He needs to know seemingly good from evil, wisdom from foolishness, truth from deceit. He asks God, for “A Heart with the skill to listen.” REB I Kings 3:9 *
This is the wisdom we want people in powerful places to have. It is the wisdom that enhances our lives. Hearts that listen hear the story behind the words and recognize non-verbalized need. We are blessed when such people are a part of our lives. We are blessed when leaders exercise the skill of listening. We are blessed when leaders listen to the people who know their expertise and understand the nuances of their subject. We are blessed when leaders listen with their hearts, are moved by unspoken needs and put those they are responsible for, at the forefront of their decisions. We are blessed when leaders have “A heart with the skill to listen.” For truly they are God’s instrument’s of grace in our lives.
* “That night the Lord appeared to Solomon there in a dream. God said, ‘What shall I give you? Tell me.’ He answered, ‘You have shown great and constant love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in loyalty, righteousness, and integrity of heart; and you have maintained this great and constant love towards him and now you have given him a son to succeed him on the throne.
‘Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, though I am a mere child, unskilled in leadership. Here I am in the midst of your people, the people of your choice, too many to be numbered or counted. Grant your servant, therefore, a heart with skill to listen, so that he may govern your people justly and distinguish good from evil. Otherwise who is equal to the task of governing this great people of yours?’ I Kings 3:5-9