1 Kings 3:7-9 (NLT)
7 “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. 8 And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! 9 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?”
Are you a king or a subject?
On the platform of the redemptive work of Christ, we have been made kings and priests unto God. This was done 2000 plus years ago and that is the firm reality of our identity in God. There might be a gap and there often is between our consciousness and this reality but it remains the truth. A billionaire heir isn’t a poor man because he is unaware of his inheritance. His awareness or lack thereof does not change the reality that he is a wealthy man living like a poor man. Similarly, I wonder how many kings out there are living like subjects.
It has been established that your mindset determines your actions. How you think will shape how you act. That is why all new converts need to consciously undergo a renewing of the mind as Paul suggests in Romans 12:2. The world has molded us in the way we think and our perspective as a whole. Our mind is formed based on our experiences, environment and education. To conform simply means to take the shape of a container. When you pour a liquid into a bottle, the liquid conforms to the shape of the bottle. The only way to deal with conformity is to break the bottle or pour the liquid into another container.
Having lived in the world, there are certain mindsets that we develop which must be dealt with after we become Christians. As a born again Christian, your nature has been changed as well as your kingdom; you are basically a baby again but born into the kingdom of God and must unlearn the ways of the world while learning the ways of the new kingdom. Similar in principle to wiping a hard drive clean and re-installing a new operating system. It is not that easy however mainly because we still live in the world and are constantly being exposed to the world yet we are expected to operate using principles of the kingdom. For example, the world has conditioned our minds to a mentality of scarcity but Jesus defeated this way of thinking severally when he operated as if the resources were endless.
Kingdom mindedness is a way of thinking that has a kingdom focus rather than an individualistic focus. As New Testament Christians who have been made kings, we need to start thinking on the level of our identity. A King’s thought process is radically different from that of a subject. Subjects are concerned about survival while kings are concerned about purpose. Subjects pray, ‘Lord bless me’ while kings pray, ‘Lord make me a blessing’. Subjects are self centered while kings are focused on others. Subjects think microscopically while the king’s thoughts are macroscopic. Subjects think local while kings think global. Subjects fixate on trivial things while kings think big picture.
It is a subject’s way of thinking that makes a person obsessed with finding a job rather than purpose. It is a subject’s way to do nothing about world issues because they don’t affect you directly (by the way, everything going on in the world today is your problem. He said ‘You are the salt of the earth’). It is a subject’s mindset that ignores challenges facing Christians in other parts of the world. It is a subject’s mindset to spend the majority of your prayer time on your personal needs.
In the text, Solomon had just offered 1000 burnt offerings to God and God presented him with the infamous blank check. Ask Me anything you want, said God, and I will give you. It is a difficult situation when you are asked to make a request from the One who can do all things. But God said (I am paraphrasing) ‘Solomon, I know you must have a lot of needs, but I will only indulge one’. He could have asked God for anything, and that covers everything. Yet, in a true king fashion and a display of royal distinction, he asked God for an understanding heart. Even more relevant than his request is the reason for his request. He didn’t request this because he wanted to understand his wives better or understand the financial market. He requested this in order to lead the nation rightly. This wasn’t a selfish request. It was a demand born out of kingdom mindedness and consciousness. It was about the kingdom and not about his personal desires. How can I move this nation forward? How can I judge wisely?
‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ precedes ‘give us this day our daily bread’. Solomon could have asked for wealth and health but that would have been a subject’s demand. He could have asked for victory over his enemies but that would still be a subject’s demand. He thought of the kingdom, his God-given assignment and that was above everything else. Jesus did say in Matthew 6:33 ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ Solomon displayed an understanding of this kingdom principle approximately 997 years before Jesus uttered those words. He sought the things of God’s kingdom first and he received everything else (all these things) in addition.
All matters affecting the kingdom are the king’s concern. He loses sleep over challenges to the realm as well as personal issues. Kingly thinking does not abdicate personal responsibility or familial obligation. It adds to that the responsibility of the kingdom. That’s what makes the king exceptional; he is a man just like all the subjects but his thinking is both macro and micro. He is responsible for his family as well as for the kingdom. Kings are operating far above the bottom spectrum on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They are in pursuit of purpose and not survival.
This applies to those aspiring to become leaders in their organizations or careers as well. Simply put, you must develop an enterprise perspective and put away departmental or task-oriented thinking. I have deduced that the difference between the executives and low to mid level employees is that executives think for the whole enterprise. Any worker that cannot see the big picture will not make a good executive.
We learn from Jesus when He walked the earth how to be focused on the big picture. His reference and concern was always for the kingdom as a whole. He was passionate about His father’s business and whipped some businessmen out of the temple. One sure way to fail as a king is to possess a subject’s mentality. Shalom.