Walk through any local supermarket or shopping centre and you don’t have to travel too far before encountering the word “free” – “buy one, get one free!” “free offer” etc. etc. Most of the time, these “free” things are only free if you buy something else.
In the Biblical book of James, the author offers us a truly free, valuable gift: one that is powerful and life-changing. Best of all, it comes with no pre-requisites, or strings attached. James tell us:
“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God, who gives to every one liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.” James 1:5
Wisdom, as defined by the Oxford English dictionary, is the ability to combine knowledge and experience and put them to good use and practice. It’s wisdom which enables us to not only learn, but to use our learning in ways which will benefit others as well as ourselves, and edify our Creator.
At the beginning of Solomon’s reign as King, God appeared to him in a dream. God offered to give him anything he desired. Solomon replied
“Give me an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge and rule this Your great people?” ( 1 Kings 3:9)
God was pleased that Solomon had asked for this, and declared:
“Behold, I have done as you asked, I have given you a wise, discerning mind so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall any arise after you equal to you.
I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honour; so that there shall not be any among the kings equal to you all your days.” (1 Kings 3:12.13).
Imagine getting a free offer and then lots of other things as well!
There was, however, a sad finale to Solomon’s walk with God. Towards the end of his life, he allowed himself to be led astray to worship other gods. Despite all the blessings that God had showered upon him, Solomon neglected to give God the honour and privileged place that was God’s alone.
So it is with each of us. God showers upon us wisdom, if we ask it of Him. There are so many other gifts He longs to give each person – salvation, relationship, the outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon us, hope, peace in the midst of all circumstances, the power to minister to others for His sake, an everlasting life with Him. The list is enormous, and amazing and better than any buy one, get one free offer!
Yet there is caution in the example of Solomon. Don’t become complacent with what God has given. Satan is ever waiting, thief that he is, to snatch away our greatest treasures. We need to be thankful for all that God has blessed us with, and obedient to His will for all that He has entrusted us to do.
I’m no longer a baby Christian. I want to walk the paths that my Lord has placed before me, and finish well.