I am preaching tomorrow on Solomon’s choice of wisdom. I was interested to see in the text that the two women whose baby he threatened to cut in half were hookers. They left that detail out in Sunday School. I preach on 1 Kings 3 tomorrow at Grace Fellowship, but here are some initial thoughts.
The twenties are overwhelming for some because the training of education is over and the ‘real life’ is about to begin. In days gone by a child often walked into the pathways laid out by their parents. If mommy was a homemaker, that would be the aspiration of the daughter. If daddy was a lawyer, the firm would add “& son” to the offices after his offspring passed the bar. For many, setting a course for life was simple and predetermined. After walking within the confined hallways of schooling for many years, the twenties open up into broad vistas of possibilities. For some, like me, the twenties are a playground in which to experiment and explore. However, the choices that we make in our twenties are significant and the responsibilities of being an adult who has to pay their own bills, make enough money to pay them, and establish relationships that will stand the test of time can be overwhelming.
It is also surprising to many older people that those in their twenties are experiencing a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. However, as we have sat in our office we see more students who lack certainty about whether they are making wise choices for life. They are afraid of choosing the wrong career, the wrong partner, or the wrong faith. Some prefer not to choose, but not choosing is a choice in itself. Some choose to drift. However, as Alexander MacLaren powerfully suggests, “For one man who goes wrong by deliberate choice, with open eyes, there are twenty who simply drift. Unfortunately, there is more evil than good in the world; and if a lad takes his colour from his surroundings, the chances are terribly against his coming to anything high, noble, or pure. This world is no place for a man who cannot say ‘No.’ If we are like the weeds in a stream, and let it decide which way we shall point, we shall be sure to point downwards. It would do much to secure the choice of the Good, if there were a clear recognition by all young persons of the fact that they have the choice to make, and are really making it unconsciously.”
At the start of his reign, Solomon had a choice to make. Would he set his heart on God or on some other life objective? He set it, mostly, after God. At about age 20, he decided that he would pursue wisdom. Wisdom was a tool for him to use in his highest goal – to know what God wanted for his people and for him personally. What have you set your heart on? Is God a tool in your tool box that enables you to achieve that goal? Is God the goal himself?
Jesus’ first talk to his fresh disciples on a Galilean hillside called them to a commitment. The young men and women on that hill were hearing what life is all about. They had committed to a person when they agreed to follow Jesus, but they weren’t really clear who he was or where he was going to take them. It would take them a lifetime to find out. They worried about how they would pay their bills, what they might eat for diner, or what clothes they could afford to buy. But Jesus told them that life was more than the details that wrap us up and pin us down in our twenties. Life was about a single focus, “Seek first the Kingdom of God … Store up treasure in heaven … choose the narrow gate … build your house on the rock …” All these ideas point back to starting life with a singular focus. We can’t drift into what is significant and right.
Kelli and I chose God. And then we didn’t. And then we chose God again. And then we got sidetracked. And then we did ministry for God without being sold out for God. And then we did dating. And then God slapped us alongside the head. Then God splashed our faces with cold water. God reminds us daily that life is all about him. We forget. Everything in the world is created by God and for God. That includes us. This is what this book is about. It’s about the constant choosing that God gives us in our twenties. We leave home and we leave school and God asks us to choose him. It took Kelli and me a while to start to get it right. We just want to share what we have learned on the way.