In the first reading today Solomon is told by God, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon responds, “Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.” God was pleased with this request from Solomon, for he had not asked for “long life, nor riches, nor for the life of his enemies” but for a gift which would serve the good of the people. In response God gave Solomon understanding, riches and long life. However, while Solomon became known for his wisdom it also led to his demise. Solomon, the third king of Israel and the son of King David, married many wives who belonged to ruling families in neighboring countries. While this was wise strategy on some levels, it led him into their pagan practices and away from Yahweh, eventually leading to his fall.
What was best about Solomon was his “other-centered” request. We ought to pray for gifts that will help build up the kingdom of God here on earth. We must be careful to use the gifts God has given us wisely, and never forget the giver of the gift. May all glory and honor be given to our God, forever and ever. Amen.