Robert H. Pierson, was former president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Perhaps you have recently been placed in a position of responsibility in your congregation. The church has elected you to be the first elder, or you have been asked to serve as the treasurer or you have been appointed to any other position of leadership. It can be a heady experience for the uninitiated. How have you accepted your position?

Recently I was reading Solomon's prayer at Gibeon, recorded in 1 Kings 3:5. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and challenged him with an amazing offer: "Ask what I shall give thee," God said.

King Solomon might easily have asked for greater power, greater wealth, or many other things attractive to the human heart. But the young and inexperienced ruler fell upon his knees and cried out in humility, "O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?" (verses 7-9). Solomon's expression of need and appeal for help pleased God. He was granted not only the wisdom he so much needed, but was also rewarded with many of the material blessings for which he did not ask.

May I share with you a thought from Prophets and Kings? "The language used by Solomon while praying to God before the ancient altar at Gibeon reveals his humility and his strong desire to honor God. He realized that without divine aid he was as helpless as a little child to fulfill the responsibilities resting on him. He knew that he lacked discernment, and it was a sense of his great need that led him to seek God for wisdom. In his heart there was no selfish aspiration for a knowledge that would exalt him above others. He desired to discharge faithfully the duties devolving upon him, and he chose the gift that would be the means of causing his reign to bring glory to God. Solomon was never so rich or so wise and as truly great as when he confessed, I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in," page 30. This warms and stirs my heart with a desire to manifest the spirit of Solomon in my leadership.

What a lesson we should learn from Solomon's prayer. When God calls us to a position of leader ship He calls us at the same time to be examples of God's men before others. The more responsible the trust placed in our hands, the more we must realize we are as "a little child," and plead with God for an "understanding heart."

Perhaps you have occasionally discerned in someone an insatiable craving for positions compelling motivation to be the head of the elders, to become a conference president, to be elected an officer of a much larger congregation. There is nothing evil in excelling in your work under the blessing of God. In fact, if you are satisfied with mediocre achievements something is wrong with your attitude. But when you have done your best, leave the rest in God's hands. "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another" (Ps. 75:6, 7).

Leadership in the church of God is not all or even much glamour and glory. The leader who is out in front may well be the one who is the object of criticism. Perhaps this is God's way of keeping us humble and much in prayer.

When you and I in humility seek wisdom and understanding to carry out our assigned responsibilities of leadership, God has promised us help. God answered Solomon's prayer. He will answer ours. How do you take promotion? If God were to present you with the challenge with which He tested Solomon: "Ask what 1 shall give thee," how would you respond? May the Lord keep us humble and feeling our dependence upon Him when "promotion" comes!

Robert H. Pierson was a former president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.