1 Kings 7
The first line of this chapter begs to be read in context with the last sentence of Chapter six: “He had spent seven years building it (the temple). It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace.”
All the work that went in to the building of the temple, all the intricate detail and beauty, all the solemn honor given to God is suddenly dwarfed when compared to Solomon’s efforts on his own residence.
It puts his relationship with God in a different perspective, doesn’t it?
Like the Pharisees who Jesus watched coming to the temple, who gave vast amounts of money for show, but Jesus instead praised the widow who gave only two mites. The size of our gifts is not nearly as important to God as the heart with which they are given!
The size of our gifts do reveal the priorities of our heart, however, when compared to all that God has given us. Pause for a moment and consider all that God has given you; count up all the blessings in your life. Health? A roof over your head? Food that is plentiful and safe to eat? Clean, safe water? Indoor plumbing? A family? Friends? Clothes? Safety and security? The opportunity to pursue a calling rather than work to the point of exhaustion just to keep from starving?
A few years ago there was a lot of talk about the “1%” — the most wealthy people in America. There is a calculator online at http://www.globalrichlist.com/ that shows where you fall in terms of wealth globally, and most people in America are in the top 1%. If you earn more than $32,000 per year in the United States, you are wealthier than 99% of people in the world. That calculation is before considering any property owned, any stock holdings or personal assets. Assuming “full-time” work, that equates to about $15 per hour. In many parts of the world, working only forty hours per week, or only eight hours per day, or having two whole days each week when you don’t have to work is unimaginable.
How does any of that relate to Solomon? Solomon, like many of us, was blessed with great prosperity while many around him lived in poverty. Yet even in his wisdom, Solomon allowed pride, greed, and selfishness to turn his attention inward rather than to focus on honoring God. We aren’t likely to avoid these same temptations, especially when God blesses us with so much. When I compare what I dedicate to honoring God with what I spend on my own desires, whether that is money, time, or talents, what does it convey about my priorities?
20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21