The Reading: 1 Kings 3:5-14
“I give you also … riches …” (v.13) RSV
Money and riches are not filthy. They are gifts from God to be used wisely and generously. They are gifts, whether inherited or earned. Today’s reading describes Solomon’s dream and the promise of God to give him not only wisdom, but also riches. Hopefully Solomon kept in mind the words of his father, David, who said, “All things come from thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:14).
Everything we have is to be received as a boon and a blessing. God has given us health and strength, brains and talents. And if we use these, then the likelihood is that we will make a living, and maybe a lot more besides. But we couldn’t earn anything if he didn’t enable us to do so.
Consequently nothing that we have or earn is ours. It all comes from God who gives us richly all things to enjoy, but it also comes with the responsibility to share it with those who are poor and in need. Indeed, our money is a blessing to us because it enables us to be a blessing to others.
Solomon spent a lot of money on himself, perhaps too much. For instance, he built many houses and he kept many wives. However, he also amassed an army and erected stables for thousands of horses for the benefit of the nation. His primary contribution was the building of the first Temple in Jerusalem. In other words, his riches were used to benefit Israel.
Unfortunately, his great wealth was achieved at the expense of the taxpayers; a fact that was going to cause the country to split in two when his son Rehoboam came to the throne. It seems that Solomon tried to achieve even more riches than God had legitimately blessed him with.
Nevertheless, our wealth if we have any (!) is always to be received with thanksgiving. While we have it let us use it not only for our enjoyment, but also for the benefit of others.
Thank you, Lord, for your promise always to provide food and clothing. Thank you that I am blessed with so much more than that! Amen.
1 Besides Job’s faithfulness, why else was his prosperity restored?
2 What did Jesus do with his riches?
2 Corinthians 8:9