12th Sunday After Pentecost, August 16, 2015
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (Year B)
Scripture Readings*: 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14, Psalm 111, Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58
1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
Solomon requested true wisdom, not just intelligence. The Hebrew concept of wisdom always involves the ability to “distinguish between right and wrong.” God responded with three unconditional and one conditional promises. Solomon was guaranteed wisdom, wealth, and honor. He was promised long life “if you will walk in My ways.” We also are given unconditional promises. Yet, some blessings remain conditional on our obedience.
As we pursue holiness, we are to be alert, making the most of every opportunity, for we live in difficult days (5:14–17). Rather than indulging fleshly appetites, we should seek the spiritual refreshment available in the fellowship of the church (5:18–21).
Jesus Christ, the true Bread, is that to the soul which bread is to the body, nourishing and supporting spiritual life. Our bodies could live better without food than our souls without Christ. Those who have received this Bread are to be the distributors of it to other hungry souls.
Making A Life vs. Making A Living
We spend so much of our time and energy on making a living. There are bills to pay. Mouths to feed. Obligations to fulfill. In the midst of making a living, it’s easy to lose sight of making a life. Today’s readings remind us to put these priorities into proper order.
When God gave Solomon permission to ask of Him whatever he wanted, it must have been tempting to worry about keeping his job as king. It must have crossed his mind to think of famine or enemy armies that could plunder his kingdom, leaving him and his people without resources. But Solomon had already learned that these things alone do not make a life. He asked for resources that enabled him to build a life – a legacy – and not merely make a living. In the process, he accomplished both.
We can learn from Solomon. We can focus on spiritual disciplines that bring God’s wisdom to bear on our lives. Like Saint Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians, we can be careful in how we live, being wise and making the most of time. On our own, these things are impossible. But when we eat the Living Bread, receiving the strength of Christ’s body and blood, the Holy Spirit empowers us to love what is good and embrace real, lasting life.
Prayer for Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – Gracious God, through your Son, let my life reflect both your grace and your priorities, producing good fruit and an example of godly living; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B