Solomon: Courage, Wisdom and Leadership

Part 5

What is the key to improving my life and the environment around me?

We tend to believe that the key to improving our lives is to do; to do something; to take action and push toward a result. It may surprise you that the key is a passive activity. I’ll give you a hint: Are you listening


Solomon started out well but didn’t finish well. However, I don’t consider his poor finish as invalidating his early achievements and blessings from God. I believe we can learn a lot from Solomon.  


King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. I Kings 10:23 


I’m a student of leadership so I can’t help but look at the story of Solomon through the lens of leadership. Specifically, the power of influence; to produce positive energy toward faith in God, growth, production and prosperity. That’s great leadership. 


You might say, ‘that doesn’t interest me.’ That’s okay. However, I would ask that you reconsider. You undoubtedly live, work or serve within an environment of people; your family, your social group, your work group, etc. What is the nature of the groups you spend time with? Happy, productive, optimistic, positive? Or unhappy, slothful, pessimistic and negative? Most likely, somewhere in between.  


Most people feel they are victims of their environment. They might say, ‘Oh well, that’s just the way my family is.’ Or, ‘I feel helpless at work. I wish my boss would step up and change things.’ Or, ‘I wish they would stop treating me this way.’ 


You may not consider yourself a leader or influencer, but that doesn’t change the fact that you do indeed have the capacity to influence those around you and change the environment you live in.  


Let’s learn from Solomon.


First, he didn’t ask God for riches, power and success. He asked for wisdom. But let’s look a little further into his request. His actual request was give your servant an understanding heart … the essence of the word understanding means to listen. Solomon requested that God grant him a listening heart. God responded by saying, I have given you a wise and discerning heart. The key to wisdom and discernment is a listening heart


Have you ever considered the possibility that the essence of wisdom is to listen? This is absolutely one of the most profound realities you could ever learn and apply to your life. To be wise, discerning and influential is to be a listener. Perhaps the key to improving your life and the people and environment around you is to listen. 


Begin by listening to God, knowing and understanding His revealed Word. Soak in His Word and allow the principles and truths to penetrate your heart. Solomon asked for wisdom and God granted him a special measure of wisdom that resulted in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is the output of God’s wisdom, distilled through the wise and discerning mind of Solomon, written for us all to read and absorb.


As you build up your mind and heart with the wisdom of God’s Word, begin listening more to those around you. May God give us listening hearts as he gave Solomon. God’s Word gives us the knowledge of wisdom. Listening gives us the opportunity to apply wisdom and positively influence others toward life in Him. 


A most amazing thing happened to me this morning. I opened my email and found a prayer written for me by my faithful prayer partner, Matt Brinkley. This is a prayer, sent to me yesterday, during a week that I am studying Solomon’s request for a listening heart – wow, what a wonderful act of God’s providence.  


Gracious Father. Larry and I thank you for the practical and empowering truth your living word produces in our lives. Today, we invite you to make our communication with others edifying. We are often apt to enter conversations and only half listen, and even worse, go in presumptively and already prejudiced to react.


Lord Jesus, Larry and I invite you to bless us with humble strength derived through the intense understanding of the gospel. Give us such peace and confidence in our relationship with you that we might only have the needs of others our focus. May your unconditional forgiveness and patient sanctification be extended through us to others for Christ’s glory.


Bless us as we enter all conversations. Make us quick to listen… not just going through the motions of listening or responding with prematurely anticipated answers… but truly listening with focus, interest, clarifying questions, discernment, and care always believing the best about someone.


Holy Spirit, before we speak, give us the self-awareness to quickly perceive any sinful motive within us like insecurity, prejudice, jealousy, envy, protectiveness, or competitiveness and a responsive heart to seek your forgiveness. Having these out of the way, guide each word we speak to be full of supernatural wisdom and life-giving hope as we speak the truth in love pointing others to Christ.


Give Larry and me extraordinary self-control protecting us from fleshly anger expressed from a heart of disappointment, fearfulness, hopelessness, or defensiveness. Rather, give us hope filled faith and words of life to hold the crown over someone’s head until they themselves find victory through Christ.


Father, may our words be filled with grace, mercy, and wisdom as we speak into the lives of others.


In Christ! Blessings Larry!


My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1: 19-20. Amen!