What would you do if you won the lottery? This question always seems to generate the same responses: There’s the person who devises an investment strategy, the dreamer who envisions ending global poverty, the individual who would travel the world, and the person who would buy the house, boat, or car they’ve always wanted.
These responses tell us something about each person’s character and what fulfills them. The root of these desires reveals something about how they perceive their identity in relationship to their culture, family, and God.
In a sense, Solomon wins the lottery and his response reveals what is important to him, the core of his identity. It also reveals how God responds to people who know what he desires. God asks Solomon, “Ask what I shall give to you” (2 Chr 1:7). Solomon replies with some of the most humble words ever spoken: ” Now, gibe to me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can judge this, your great people?” (2 Cor. 1:10).
God reminds Solomon of all the great things he passed up in this moment, and how doing so showed his true character. As a result, God says that he will also bless Solomon with “wealth, possessions, and honor” (2 Chr 1:11-12). Solomon’s humility demonstrates what it looks like to have a godly identity that’s focused on others rather than ourselves.
The difference between present gain and eternal gain is focus: Are we working toward the eternal good of God’s work or the temporal good of our own success? When we align ourselves with who God created us to be, our desires become his desires. Our thirst for gain is quenched by God. This principle is reinforced by Jesus who said, “if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7). We, like Solomon, should understand our role in God’s work and request what we need to fulfill that role, trusting that he will provide rest.