5 While he was at Gibeon, the Lord came to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you. He was honest and lived right. And you showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him. 7 Lord my God, you have allowed me to be king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child. I do not have the wisdom I need to do what I must do. 8 I, your servant, am here among your chosen people. There are too many of them to count. 9 So I ask that you give me wisdom. Then I can rule the people in the right way. Then I will know the difference between right and wrong. Without wisdom, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked him for this. 11 So God said to him, “You did not ask for a long life. And you did not ask for riches for yourself. You did not ask for the death of your enemies. Since you asked for wisdom to make the right decisions, 12 I will give you what you asked. I will give you wisdom and understanding. Your wisdom will be greater than anyone has had in the past. And there will never be anyone in the future like you.
26 Also, the Spirit helps us. We are very weak, but the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us. The Spirit speaks to God with deep feelings that words cannot explain. 27 God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way that God wants.
28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.[a] They are the people God called, because that was his plan. 29 God knew them before he made the world. And God chose them to be like his Son. Then Jesus would be the firstborn[b] of many brothers. 30 God planned for them to be like his Son. And those he planned to be like his Son, he also called. And those he called, he also made right with him. And those he made right, he also glorified.
God’s Love in Christ Jesus
31 So what should we say about this? If God is for us, then no one can defeat us. 32 God let even his own Son suffer for us. God gave his Son for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. 33 Who can accuse the people that God has chosen? No one! God is the One who makes them right. 34 Who can say that God’s people are guilty? No one! Christ Jesus died, but that is not all. He was also raised from death. And now he is on God’s right side and is begging God for us. 35 Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles or problems or sufferings? If we have no food or clothes, if we are in danger, or even if death comes—can any of these things separate us from Christ’s love? 36 As it is written in the Scriptures:
“For you we are in danger of death all the time.
People think we are worth no more than sheep to be killed.” Psalm 44:22
37 But in all these things we have full victory through God who showed his love for us. 38-39 Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from the love God has for us. Not death, not life, not angels, not ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, or anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Stories of Mustard Seed and Yeast
31 Then Jesus told another story: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. A man plants the seed in his field. 32 That seed is the smallest of all seeds. But when it grows, it is one of the largest garden plants. It becomes a tree, big enough for the wild birds to come and make nests in its branches.”
33 Then Jesus told another story: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman mixes into a big bowl of flour. The yeast makes all the dough rise.”
Stories of a Treasure and a Pearl
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and then he hid it in the field again. The man was very happy to find the treasure. He went and sold everything that he owned to buy that field.
45 “Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a man looking for fine pearls. 46 One day he found a very valuable pearl. The man went and sold everything he had to buy that pearl.
A Story of a Fishing Net
47 “Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was put into the lake. The net caught many different kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled the net to the shore. They sat down and put all the good fish in baskets. Then they threw away the bad fish. 49 It will be this way at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the evil people from the good people. 50 The angels will throw the evil people into the blazing furnace. In that place the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.”
51 Jesus asked his followers, “Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes, we understand.”
52 Then Jesus said to them, “So every teacher of the law who has been taught about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house. He has both new things and old things saved in his house. And he brings out both those new things and old things.”
The last few weeks we have heard stories, parables of what we are supposed to do with the Word of God. We plant it like a sower plants seeds, and we are not to be worried about if the seeds, the Word, get spread on good ground where it will surely take root, or on poor and rocky soil where only a few plants might grow. In the same way, if we see weeds start to grow around the good plants we are not to worry about pulling them. We might damage the good plants while removing the weeds. If we see people who are not good ground, where the Word is not growing, it is not our job to remove them, it might hurt others. Finally, today we hear that we are all fish caught in the same net, both the good and the bad, and that angels will separate the good from the bad when it is time.
So what is this all about, why are we asked to spread God’s Word at all? If God and the angels are going to do all the sorting at the end, why are we worried about planting the seeds now? Is it to feel better about ourselves, is it to make our parents happy? Now this is a very tough question, and not something you or I can answer easily. It is something we each need to think about, probably every day. What am I supposed to do and why? Well we know the what, and it is to be like the sower, and spread the seed of God’s Word. I think we begin to see some of the why in looking at the mustard seed, and Solomon. The story of Solomon, and his asking for wisdom from God, shows us something that God did, he gave Solomon great wisdom, just as God gives each of us something, even if we don’t get to ask for it personally. Whatever it is that God gives us is all we need, even if it is just the tiniest little thing. This is where we look at a mustard seed. This seed is as small as the tip of pen or a pencil, but it has everything in it to grow into a tree that will reach these windows, two floors up. This tiny seed can give shade and shelter for many living things. It looks like so much nothing, it is not big, not strong, not very pretty, not even very valuable, but it can be so much, and do so much because of what it has inside of it. What do you have inside of you? What is the something that God gave you? Again, this is not something that can be answered right away, or maybe even in an hour or a day. It is something each of us need to ask ourselves over and over. What have I been given and how can I use it. How can my gift be used to help others, and in doing so show God’s love and Word in action.