Solomon, Paul, and Jesus — three mini-sermons

Pastor Matthew Best
11 min readJul 27, 2020

(I preached this sermon on Sunday, July 26, 2020. You can see the entire service on the church website —

When I took my first preaching class, I remember being told by the professor a few important “rules.” First, don’t worry about trying to knock it out of the park every week. Professional baseball players are considered really good when they bat .333. That means they are only getting to base 33% of the time. And hitting home runs far fewer times than that. If you make a connection through your sermon 33% of the time, you’re doing pretty good.

My professor also said, try to include stories. People remember the stories and can connect with them. Jesus told stories all the time. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for too.

And lastly, focus on one passage of scripture. You don’t have to preach your fully theology in one sermon.

That third one is great advice. And today I’m putting it aside. What I ended up with was three mini-sermons strung together — not quite what I expected. But then again, that’s how God operates.

There isn’t one passage of Scripture that really caught my heart and mind this week from the lectionary. The reality is that they all spoke something to me that I needed to hear. Something different, but connected.

In the first reading we have Solomon and God having a conversation. And God tells Solomon — “Ask what I should give you.” Wow. Take that in for a moment. God is pretty much saying “Hey Solomon, ask for anything you want, and like Amazon, I’ll deliver it to you.”

I don’t know. I’ve got some issues with this passage. I don’t like the idea of God being like Amazon. Sure, that’s an analogy we want to hear, but I don’t think it would make the cut on Jesus’ “The kingdom of heaven is like…” parables.

We aren’t in charge of God. We don’t get to shape God as we see fit. Sure, we can approach God and ask for things. But you know, I’ve seen too many preachers and public officials who brandish the label of being a Christian take this and abuse it. I’ve seen them do all sorts of abusive things to people in the name of God, claiming that they had some kind of special blessing. And I’m tired of that.

That’s not how God operates. God isn’t in the business of abusing people.

Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.