Daily D – 1 Kings 3:5
That night the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” 1 KINGS 3:5 (NLT)
Ken Blanchard provides excellent leadership tools. Among his finest work is the Situational Leadership toolkit. In his book, Self-Leadership and The One Minute Manager, he tells a leadership fable which unfolds the full meaning of the book’s subtitle, “Gain the Mindset and Skillset for Getting What You Need to Succeed.” He does this in a sparse 133 pages.
Blanchard and his coauthors illustrate the successive moves from Unconscious Incompetence, to Conscious Incompetence, to Conscious Competence, to Unconscious Competence. Unconscious Incompetence is the point where a person does not know what he or she does not know. Conscious Incompetence is the place where he or she does know what he or she does not know. Conscious Competence knows what to do and has a checklist to get it done. Unconscious Competence is when a person can metaphorically do something in their sleep.
Solomon was a smart guy. He gained the well-earned reputation as the wisest man who ever lived. Before he achieved that elevated status, however, he demonstrated his intelligence in his prayer request. When God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”, Solomon understood he was spending his time on his father’s throne stuck somewhere between Unconscious Incompetence and Conscious Incompetence. There were things he did not know he did not know, and there were things he knew he did not know. Listen to how he described it:
Now, O LORD my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”
A buddy of mine was sitting in a room with the men who would make the final determination regarding whether he had earned the title Doctor. One of those elevated intellectuals asked my friend a question regarding his research. A couple of minutes into the explanation, the professor held up his hand and said, “If you don’t know, it’s okay to say so.” My friend was shaken because he thought he was right on target. Spoiler alert: He earned the doctorate.
Do you know what you don’t know? Where do you go for answers? How do you add to your intelligence? How do you gain wisdom?
Solomon was apparently a good listener. The book of Proverbs includes Solomon’s own original thinking. It also includes the best thoughts of others. He habitually collected wise sayings. We see a bit of his strategy in Prov. 15. In v. 2 it says, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.” This verse has companion found in 13:20: “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
In 15:5 Solomon records, “Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise.” Many of life’s most important lessons are learned before we ever leave home. Until we learn to give ourselves the gift of self-discipline, parents provide guardrails and guidelines to keep us moving in the right direction.
In 15:7 Solomon writes, “The lips of the wise give good advice; the heart of a fool has none to give.” Listen and learn from those wise guys you walk around with.
In 15:10 Solomon says, “Whoever abandons the right path will be severely disciplined; whoever hates correction will die.” Learn from mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others. Learn from your own mistakes.
Wisdom should show up regularly in our prayer requests. Our Father in heaven has an abundant supply and he loves to lavish it upon all who ask (James 1:5, 6). In other words, we are about as wise as we choose to be. Where do you need God’s wisdom today? Follow Solomon’s lead and pray.
I will ask God for wisdom.
Our Father, thank you that you never grow tired of hearing us ask for wisdom. Thank you that your supply never runs out. Give us today the wisdom we need for all that is before us. Amen.
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1 Timothy 2:1-4 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (NLT)
1 Timothy 1:15, 16 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. (NLT)