That night, the Lord appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘Ask, what shall I grant you?’ Solomon said to God, ‘You dealt most graciously with my father David, and now You have made me king in his stead. Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to my father David be fulfilled; for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. Grant me then the wisdom and the knowledge to lead this people, for who can govern Your great people?’
II Chronicles 1:9-10
All of us have probably dreamed or day dreamed of a genie coming to us and wanting to make a wish come true. In fact most of us have a list of things that we would like to happen: bills paid, bigger house, maybe a car, be reunited with a loved one, have the chance of one last encounter with one that has gone before us. The list is truly long, so many possibilities, so many needs, what would we ask for?
This is Chronicles’ version of Solomon’s request to God (see I Kings 3:4-9). He could have asked for anything he wanted, but the burden of leadership was heavy on his heart.
As leaders we sometimes find ourselves over our heads. A new job, new position, or a new project forces us to lead outside our comfort zone. Some of us move on and fake it all the way no matter the damage. Others, like Solomon, acknowledge their limitations and reach out for someone who can help them grow into leadership.
At the core of all leadership is wisdom. The ability to discern, to make decisions, to guide others takes more than steps, or books, or how to’s. It requires an awareness of ourselves and of the potential of others.
Wisdom is a gift. All religious leaders would better serve their communities if, like Solomon, we acknowledge that we are in over our heads and ask God to give us that which we cannot attain any other way but through prayer, reflection, and Christian community.