01-03-2021

“WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT?”

1 Kings 3:4-15

Sunday January 3, 2021 (Christmas 2)

Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr

Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Our text for tonight is the OT Lesson from 1 Kings 3 that was just proclaimed.

Dearest Jesus, Send your Holy Spirit to enable us to realize what is important, what is eternally important. Amidst the cares of this world may we realize and invest in what prepares us remain in faith of your eternal promises. Amen.

Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:

What’s really important in life? You know the kind of answer that question is supposed to bring in a sermon, and we’ll definitely wind up there. But for a second, think about what people—and sometimes we—consider to be most important in life.

Let’s be honest: we know money matters. You’ve got to be able to provide for your family, and buying a few nice things is . . . nice. But sometimes even we Christians can feel as if being able to say, “Sure, we’re going to add on that extra room! . . . Christmas break in Hawaii or Aspen? No problem! . . .

Retire at age 55 and play!” is what we really, really want most right now. Good health till we’re ninety. Nothing wrong with wanting that. But sometimes clinging to youth and good looks, keeping your golf game in top form, reversing the clock is what matters most to us.

How many products try to offer that? Family. We love them. We say our husband, wife, kids, grandchildren are our top priority. And they should be high on the list. But are they really what’s most important in life?

In our Old Testament Reading this morning, Solomon is asked by God to evaluate his priorities, to consider what’s most important in life. What he chooses is more than an example for us. It’s a witness to the most important things of all. And you know where we’re going with that:

The Things of God Outweigh Everything Else in Importance.

Of most importance for our lives are the mighty acts of God. It’s quite an invitation that God poses to young King Solomon (vv 3–5).

Solomon was the latest installment of God’s promises to his Old Testament people.

God had promised the patriarchs many descendants and blessing for all nations. God had promised David that a descendant of his would have an eternal rule.

Now Solomon sat on his father’s throne, and his answer to God indicates that he realizes his position is a mighty act of God (v 6).

God was, in fact, acting through all this history to bring about his mightiest act: sending Christ Jesus. This is Christmas!

And this is now the boy Jesus, twelve years old, coming into the temple to be about his “Father’s business” (Lk 2:49, KJV).

Finally, God’s mightiest act will be Jesus’ finishing his Father’s business by his death for mankind’s sins.

This is of most importance for our lives. It’s how we have forgiveness of our sins.

It’s how we have riches, life, health, and reunion with our Christian loved ones after all the money, activity, and relationships of this world have come to nothing.

Of most importance for our lives is the wisdom of God.

Solomon understood that God’s wisdom is what he needed most to rule the Lord’s people (vv 7–10). Wisdom has to do with being in harmony with the Creator. Mankind’s sin disrupted and corrupted the wisdom of God’s original created order.

Christ crucified is the way to the restoration of this order. Therefore, the preaching of the cross is true wisdom, the way God’s order is restored.

Solomon’s request recognized this, that wisdom was faith in God’s promised salvation. This was the most important thing.

It was precisely this wisdom that Jesus was speaking and learning in the temple, the wisdom in which he “increased” also in the years to come (Lk 2:52).

This wisdom also includes living in keeping with God’s will and the “common sense” to do so in the real world. Some people lack this kind of wisdom.

A certain cartoon deals with wisdom as the ability to act rightly in the real world. In the cartoon, a school building is labeled as a school for gifted children.

On the front door, there is an enormous handle for pulling open the door. But at that door, there is a certain nerdy-looking student, who with all of his might is trying to push the door open.

That young man may indeed have been gifted, but he was certainly demonstrating a shortage of at least one kind of wisdom. To be successful in life, we need the wisdom that comes from formal education, but we also need the sense to be able to put our educated wisdom to work in the real world that God has created.

In the Bible, the concepts of discernment and wisdom embrace both of those skill sets. The wisdom of a right relationship with God through faith in Christ also shows itself in the ability to live as God would have us live and to do so in the real world, with all of its real-world challenges and obstacles.

As king over God’s people, Solomon needed that sort of wisdom. He needed to be a good political ruler in the real world. He also needed to be able to lead the people of God in right faith and worship, and he needed the good sense to do so in the best way possible (1 Ki 3:4–15).

Biblical wisdom enables us to live out God’s will in the real world. We can set goals and make plans for being successful and having a good career. However, the Christian does so with the mindset that his or her vocation is for serving others.

For opening up opportunities to share the Gospel with our talent and treasure and opportunities that come from God our creator…to invest in what is eternal and not temporary.

In times that our careers, ventures, and other pursuits are not successful, we still live in the hope and joy that the best is yet to come because ultimately we are on our way to heaven. Troubles times like the pandemic, are great opportunities for other to see the peace with have with God because of Jesus.

Solomon needed this kind of wisdom, and he asked for it in his prayer. Of most importance for our lives is seeking the kingdom of God.

Solomon was seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness when he requested wisdom.

We, too, need to seek God’s kingdom first. We do that by being in God’s Word. We do that also by seeking to live as God would have us live.

When we hold God’s kingdom to be of most importance in our lives, God adds to it.

Along with wisdom, Solomon received other blessings as well (vv 10–15). God promises his care for all our needs too (Mt 6:25–33; Rom 8:31–32).We all knew the sermon was going to come out this way, didn’t we? The things of God are what really matter in life.

But it is true. Only what Christ has done for us will last until eternity—and that is what matters! Amen.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.