Risks and Right Choices
Opening Question: What you ever make the right choice about something important? How did you know it was the right choice?
First Reading: 1 Kings 3:5,7-12
Solomon was serious young man. Yes, liked to play and laugh, but he didn't always just look for fun. He balanced his fun with responsibility. There was a problem, however. With his new job, Solomon got a lot more responsibility than he expected.
One night, Solomon laid awake for a long time. He couldn't sleep. He just kept thinking about all the things he was responsible for. All the choices he had to make. All the tests he would face. He was worried. And he wasn't having any fun.
After many hours of tossing and turning, Solomon fell asleep. This is what happened.
One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, "Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you."
Solomon answered, "Lord God, I'm your servant, and you've made me king in my father's place. But I'm very young and know so little about being a leader. And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count.
Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours."
"Solomon, I'm pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. So I'll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live."
Contemporary English Version
Solomon woke up and said "Thank you, God." He knew God was with him and would help him make the right decisions. With God at his side, no responsibility was too tough, no choice too hard, no test he couldn't pass. Solomon relaxed and went back to sleep. It was the best sleep he had for a long time.
The next morning King Solomon woke up. The day looked beautiful, and, as he thought about what he would do that day, he got excited.
"Today is going to be fun!" he said as jumped out of bed.
Bridging Question: How many of you have seen Extreme Games? How risky are they?
Gospel: Matthew 13:44-46
Jesus told his followers:
The kingdom of heaven is like an expensive treasure buried in a field. A man hired to farm the field found the treasure and buried it again. He happily went off, sold all he owned, and bought that field from its owner.
The kingdom of heaven is also like a merchant who looked for expensive pearls he could buy. When he found a truly prized pearl, he went off, sold all he owned, and bought it.
Jake liked to take risks. He loved the rushing feeling of danger. Whether he did tricks on his skateboard or BMX bike, whether he climbed tall trees or walked too close to the edge of a cliff, Jake looked for ways to take a chance.
One day, Jake zoomed down the hill near his house on his skateboard. Faster and faster he traveled toward the corner of the busy intersection. He looked for the traffic light to change, so he could skate through. Waiting, hoping, calculating. Would it change? Could he stop if it didn't? What would happen?
At the last minute, Jake couldn't wait. He tilled backwards to brake, but he slid into the intersection. Out the corner of his eye, he saw the traffic light change from green to yellow to red. Relief. He was safe! He could skate through!
Sally saw Jake in the intersection. And Jake saw Sally, so he slowed and skated up to his friend. "Jake!" sally exclaimed. "You almost got hit by a car!" You were lucky the light changed. Why do you take such dangerous risks?"
"Because the feeling is great!," Jake answered. "Isn't everything is a risk?"
"What do you mean?" Sally asked.
"Every time you make a friend, don't you take a risk?" Jake responded. "Don't you risk getting your feelings hurt or making a mistake to hurt others? Every time you spent money, don't you take a risk you're buying the wrong thing? Every time you do take a test a school don't you risk an 'F'?"
"This is silly! Besides friends, spending money, and tests don't kill you!" Sally responded.
"But without the risk, it won't be worth doing," Jake answered.
"I suppose everything has some risk," Sally said, "but shouldn't you think about the risk before you act?"
Jake was right. Everything we do has some risk because everything we do has some chance to it. But Sally was also right. We should think about the consequences of our actions to see if the risk is worth it. The feeling of danger is not a good reason for Jake to but himself at risk.
In the gospel, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God. The farmer who sold everything to buy the field with the treasure, and the merchant who sold everything to own the pearl took a chance. The farmer and the merchant represent people took a risk to become followers of Jesus. They risked family, friendships, and jobs because they put Jesus first. But the risk was worth the prize.
Closing Question: What do we risk when we put Jesus and other people first? Why is friendship with Jesus more important?