Solomon asks for an understanding heart to judge the people and distinguish between right and wrong. He does so because he is called to lead the people. He could have prayed to have power and control over them, but instead he wishes to serve their needs, by understanding them and distinguishing between what is right and wrong.
Those who lead our nations are concerned about their public images. Photo opportunities can go wrong, who would have thought that eating a bacon sarnie could prove so revealing, as the leader of the opposition found out to the amusement of the media! But these photo opportunities are designed to show the politicians in the best possible light. Spin is used to present a version of the truth most beneficial to the leaders of the day. I wonder if any pray for an understanding heart or an ability to discern what is right and what is wrong. We would hope so.
Solomon is not a typical leader though, his greatness is measured in his discernment of what is right and wrong in the sight of God. A trend of our modern society is that God is slowly being phased out of public life, replaced by other ideologies that speak of equality and fairness, but don’t always live up to their billing. Life is sacred, from conception to natural death, that is how we as Christians understand its dignity and worth. So that no one however weak, is considered a burden or a drain on the resources of society. Life is worth living, and living it to the full, having the freedom to live by faith, these are important aspects and enhance the quality of life.
The gospel story today entices the people to listen. Jesus addressing the culture of the day, speaks of the most valuable things to those who listened . He mentions treasure, huge catches of fish that would make you rich, pearls of great price. These addressed the aches of the hearts of those who listened. I suppose if he was addressing this modern world he would say; imagine winning the lottery and having riches beyond your wildest imagining. It gets our attention appeals to us on a deep level of our being. Then Jesus explains that God’s Kingdom is worth more than our deepest longing for riches. The kingdom of heaven will satisfy the cravings of the human heart and more, because the Kingdom is the greatest treasure we could ever reach for.
The kingdom of heaven is not about wealth or selfishness, it is about service, about love, about a treasure that lasts within, it is about celebrating the values of joy, happiness and peace. This Kingdom can be found by following Jesus, and putting his life, death and words at the forefront of our living. The kingdom is the greatest treasure in life that we can strive for. May we find it and through finding it inherit life eternally.