Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pentecost 10 - mid-week

1 Kings 3:5-12
Just suppose you had an experience similar to Solomon’s and God said to you "Ask what I shall give you?" God did not limit the number of things to be requested, but it is assumed that one would ask for only one thing if God were to pose such an offer. After all, who would be so bold as to ask for more then one thing? To make the request, one would first have to consider the value of things and one’s greatest need. Your request in a sense would reveal the kind of person you are. Your scale of values, your goals in life, your purpose in living would all be revealed in your request of God. Let’s consider this important question: If you have only one request of God what would it be?
What should you ask of God?
That question can be answered by asking three sub questions. How we answer this triad will give us the answer to our central question for today.
What should you ask of God?
What is most precious to you?
What is your greatest need?
What good can you do for others with the thing requested?
{1} What should you ask of God? That all depends on what is most precious to you. Consider Solomon’s situation. He was the wealthiest of the wealthy. He was the wisest of the wise. Whatever he needed, whatever he wanted, it was his for the asking. He had all the good things that this life had to offer. Yet, his life was limited to only a few years as each of our lives are limited. The psalmist reminds us "the span of man’s life is 70 years and if by reason of strength, 80 years". Each of us is living on borrowed time. So again, the question needs to be asked, "what is most precious to you?"
Is it making money? There are many driven to accumulating wealth. Yet, as Jesus reminds us (in the parable of the rich man who tore down his barns to build bigger barns) that man’s soul was required of his that very night. He never enjoyed the things he had worked for.
Some seem to be driven by pleasure, and good times. And who among us does not want to have a good time in life? Yet the Scriptures again remind us that if we place pleasure and leisure as our top priority we again will be disappointed.
Through the prophet Jeremiah we are reminded "Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord’" (Jeremiah 17:5)
In answering the question what is most precious to you Solomon gives us the answer in his book of Proverbs when he tells us "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) What should you ask of God? Finding out what is most precious to you will help answer that question.
{2} To help answer the question of what we should ask of God we need to answer a second question, which is "What is your greatest need?"
We each have plenty of needs. I once had the question of need answered this way. Imagine that you were to spend a year on a deserted island. What would you take with you to meet your basic needs? What you would place on that pacing list answers the question as to what is man’s basic need.
Yet, there are also spiritual needs which each of us possess. Each of us have been conceived and born in sin. Because of this condition of sin, we each fall short of the glory of God. There are things that we do which are displeasing in the sight of God. If our sins were not dealt with we would spend eternity separated from God. Our greatest need is to have peace with God.
There are many people who are looking for peace in their lives. How well do people far in finding this peace. There is only one way to find peace with God and that is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus has dealt with our greatest need, which is the removal of God’s wrath and our sin. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that we might receive the righteousness of God, which is found in Him. Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He took all sin away. He suffered and died on the cross of Calvary for you and for me. In the suffering of Jesus Christ, there is truly peace on earth and good will toward men.
In Jesus Christ, all sin has been forgiven period! When you find forgiveness of your sins then you will also receive peace with God and a purpose in living. As we are so clearly reminded in our Catechism where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. These three, forgiveness, life and salvation all go hand in hand. Receive these gifts, and you are will on your way of knowing what you should ask of God.
{3} What should you ask of God? Consider the third sub question. What good can you do for others with the thing requested? In making your request, who benefits from that request? Is it only yourself, your family your friends? Is there anyone else who benefits and is rewarded from your request? A man all wrapped up in himself become a very small package. Is there any value in your request? Will it last? Will it benefit anyone else? Will your request impact others, or will it last only for a season?
As the old adage reminds us "be careful for what you ask for…you just might get it!" We have a gracious heavenly Father who grants our every request according to His perfect will. Our requests of God are not limited to one or two petitions. He answers every request, which is placed, into His care according to faith.
We can come to the Father at any moment and know that He will hear our prayers. What should you ask of God? Whatever it is may it be asked according to faith, and may you come to Him often for He desires of us to come to Him and to come often, often. Never grow weary of prayer. Daily make your requests made known to God. May the Lord so direct us to consider what we truly need and then in faith approach Him in faith and confidence. "Ask and it shall be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you" In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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