We often will use the word wisdom in regards to King Solomon. He was granted the gift of wisdom for the benefit of the people, and they greatly benefited. With the temple being built, on the surface, it would seem that they were benefiting spiritually (or at least religiously) too. Except that all the benefits were short-lived. Eternally, they were of minimal or no value.
While calling the US a Christian nation (whether from the beginning or up until now) is really a mischaracterization, it is helpful to think of the US as Solomon.
Through the inheritance of conquest (Israel took the land, right or wrong, as the US took it from the previous inhabitants) and also hard work, there was financial, societal, and personal security. Everything was going well. Then certain things pulled the US away from its origins. The US, for example, went from a nation needing outside help, to be being one of the dominant (and at times the only dominant) countries that “gave” support (with the general expectation of benefits, even if only figurative).
The US has chased after TV, space, the moon, computers, the internet, and you can probably add more to the list. Each of these things, for a time, became more important than the country itself.
The church (and thus us) fell into this same trap. We had the worship “wars”, attractional, missional, Sunday School, discipleship, and even digital. Churches chased after these things. Could they serve the kingdom? Yes. Did they server the kingdom? Not always. Where this gets really messy is that some of these may have been beneficial for the kingdom for a time and place (and perhaps still), but at the same time, many churches have stuck to their models rather than their mission.
And in case you think that I want the “good old days”, I can easily add “fire and brimstone sermons”, liturgy (which I do love), rural, urban, poor, rich. Anything can inhibit the church—and the people called the church—from fulfilling its mission. Then we are no better than old Solomon.
Solomon had wisdom, but his faith had waned. Contrast this with the faithful listed in Hebrews. Some of them may not have had wisdom, but they had faith.
Often this is where the church and its people can sidetrack. When we lose faith and trust only in wisdom (particularly worldly wisdom), we will often make decisions that we believe are correct (they certainly may be wise), and yet do not align with faith or trust in the will of God.
- What kind of things/thoughts/“wisdom” have you had/experienced that led you away from God?
- How do you discern when something good is taking you away from God?
- What do you think is the mission of the church and the people of the church? How will you use that to filter your actions and the actions of your church?
Lord, may we grow in wisdom AND faith, that we are your faithful people on your mission. Amen.