THINK for a moment about the most significant thing you could bring to a new job. Would it be educational background? Work experience? Physical abilities? An understanding heart? That last item might sound a bit out of place. Yet that is what Solomon asked for when he was made king of the realm forged by the military prowess of his father, David. When Solomon was instructed by God, ``Ask what I shall give thee,'' part of his response was: ``I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.... Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?''1
We might wonder if Solomon didn't feel a bit intimidated, having acceded to his new position at the age of about twenty. At such an age, how vast could his educational background have been or his work experience? He saw himself as ``but a little child.'' And so he prayed for the spiritual insight essential to serving his people.
How many of us would think to pray for the same when taking on new responsibilities? If we have accumulated academic degrees or years of experience, we might feel these are sufficient to carry us forward. But let's consider what impact Solomon's petition might have on our own experience.
Solomon's prayer seems laced with humility, with an honest acknowledgment of the ultimate insufficiency of human know-how and resources to meet the demands of advancing human endeavor. In praying for an understanding heart, wasn't he actually turning to God for His wisdom? This alone is adequate to any challenge.
Humility was absolutely essential to Christ Jesus' disciples. Their Master taught that God alone could truly heal the hurts and resolve the predicaments of human experience. And, as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes of Jesus, ``He claimed no intelligence, action, nor life separate from God.''2
The disciples' lives verified the insight of St. Paul: ``Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.'' Why? ``Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.''3
While their human resources appeared scant, Jesus' disciples knew they could look to the infinite resources of God! And in their humility they were able to lift others out of sin and sickness. Can even the greatest human wisdom and physical capacity do what these followers of Christ did through their humble submission to the wisdom and might of God?
It takes considerable humility to acknowledge the inadequacy of the human, in and of itself, and turn to the divine. Humility may not be a quality expected or readily accepted in a corporate board room or at a construction site. But humbly acknowledging and expressing the wisdom of God, we will be more sensitive in our assessment of and response to the needs of those we serve. We will break out of limited, traditional modes of problem solving and find new solutions.
When we ask with humility, with a firm resolve to follow the direction given and with a deep desire to let our efforts be a blessing to others, we receive from God the insight we need. And, added to this, we receive the riches of a life devoted to God and the honor of better understanding our heritage as His children.
1I Kings 3:5, 7, 9. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 136. 3I Corinthians 1:26, 25. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10