ASSUMPTION OF OFFICE – SOME LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF KING SOLOMON

INDUCTION OF MRS. VICTORIA KUNBUOR AS REGISTRAR OF GIMPA

THURSDAY, 8TH SEPTEMBER, 2020, AT 10.00AM

SERMON BY REV. FR. JOHN KOBINA LOUIS, PhD

VICAR GENERAL, CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF ACCRA

THEME: ASSUMPTION OF OFFICE – SOME LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF KING SOLOMON

READINGS: 1 Kings 3:5-15 and Matthew 25:14-29

0.1 INTRODUCTION

The Chairman of the Governing Council, Mr. Darko Asante Esq., Members of the Council, the Rector, Prof. Samuel Bonsu, the Registrar, Mrs. Victoria Kunbuor, the Faculty and Administrative Staff of GIMPA, the family of Dr. and Mrs. Kunbuor, the Clergy, Distinguished Guests, Students, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we thank God for the successful induction of the new Registrar.

Congratulations to you, Mrs. Victoria Kunbuor! Your induction affords us the opportunity to reflect on the assumption of an office be it in the public or private sphere of life. And since the first Bible reading (1 Kings 3:5-15) is about an experience which King Solomon had not long after his enthronement, I have entitled this message: ASSUMPTION OF OFFICE – SOME LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF KING SOLOMON.

It is hoped that through this message, the Spirit of God will enlighten us about how our tenure of office in any sphere of life could please God, uplift the institution/ organization/nation we serve, as well as bring us lasting rewards.

0.2 OUTLINE

  • The God-Factor
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Stewardship
  • Human Relations
  • Walking in God’s Ways

1.0 THE GOD-FACTOR

According to 1 Kings 3:5-15, King Solomon encountered God in a dream in a place called Gibeon. What had Solomon gone to do in Gibeon? He had gone there to offer sacrifices to God after his enthronement as King of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 3:4). Why? Firstly, because he was conscious of the fact his ascendency to the throne was by God’s grace. Solomon knew that no son of King Saul succeeded him; so, it was by grace that he was succeeding his father, King David who was the successor of King Saul. Besides, Solomon was the favoured one among the about 20 princes of King David. Conscious of these facts, Solomon could not but offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to God. We may not inherit an office or a position from a parent, but even if we interviewed and appointed, or elected by the majority of citizens and sworn into office, we should remember the favour of God in our choice among others.

Secondly, King Solomon had gone to Gibeon to pray to seek God’s guidance and blessings in the governance of Israel. And fortunately, God appeared to him in a dream and blessed him abundantly. Similarly, upon the assumption of office, we should seek God’s guidance and blessings. Madam Registrar, this religious service is the beginning of your seeking of God’s guidance and blessings. Continue to seek Him in your daily prayers and Christian duties.

2.0 SWOT ANALYSIS

One of the Management or Planning tools I learnt here 26 years ago is the SWOT Analysis. Though King Solomon did not know the concept as it is taught today, he seemed to have been aware of his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, when God said to him: “Ask what I should give you” (1 Kings 3:5). Thus, in Solomon’s reply to God, before he made the request for wisdom, he explicitly mentioned some of his strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Though he did not expressly mention his threats, they could be deduced from God’s response to his request.

For his strengths, for instance, Solomon acknowledged that he was the son of David, the beloved king anointed by God, and that he was the chosen successor. For his weaknesses, Solomon humbly confessed that he was “a little child” in the midst of such a great nation and he lacked the skill of leadership. For his opportunities, he acknowledged that Israel was a great nation and that God had favoured him as its king. As regards his threats, some of his half siblings were interested in the throne (e.g., Adonijah, Absalom). However, knowing that these threats were not unsurmountable, he did not make them his priority. Thus, God said to him: “you … have not asked for yourself long life or riches or for the life of your enemies but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right” (1 Kings 3:11).

Like the wise king, Solomon, we need to do our SWOT analysis upon assumption of office and periodically thereafter so that in our prayers to God, as well as our requests to stakeholders, we will seek the right things by which our strengths are consolidated, our weaknesses minimized, our opportunities expanded, and our threats made harmless – all for the advancement of our institution or nation.

3.0 STEWARDSHIP

Once again, King Solomon was very much aware of the fact that it was God who had entrusted the nation to him; and so, he was the servant of God (cf. 1 Kings 3:7). He understood that he was made a king to serve the people of God. That is, he had a primary responsibility to ensure that common good of all, and not for his selfish interest. Thus, he did not ask for riches for himself, but the wisdom by which his leadership would prosper the whole nation.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters, like the wise king, let us see any office, position or mandate first and foremost as an opportunity to serve the common good of all and for the institution or nation to advance. Then, like Solomon who opted for the wisdom to serve and was blessed with riches and honour as well, we shall be so blessed by God.

Stewardship demands accountability. And this is so well illustrated by Jesus in the parable of the talents (cf. Matt. 25:14-29). Indeed, to whom much is given much will be expected. Hence, the man who have 5 talents was expected to yield more than those with 2 and 1 talents. So, the higher we are on the organogram of our institution or nation, the more both God and the stakeholders expect from us. So, let us do our best, and we will be rewarded accordingly.

The man with 2 talents represents middle-level management. He yielded 2 more talents. So those in middle-level management should likewise do their best and be blessed.

The man with 1 talent represents those on the lowest level of the organogram. And he was punished, because he failed to produced results. So, ordinary workers are expected to do their best and then be rewarded.

4.0 HUMAN RELATIONS

Another lesson we learn from King Solomon is that good human relations are key to success in leadership and management. No leader or manager can do the work alone. He/she needs others, including even those perceived as troublesome, to succeed. Thus, Solomon did not ask God to kill his enemies. Similarly, when we assume office, it is not time to misapply power for revenge or to terrorize people who apparently or really do not like us.

Secondly, when Solomon returned from Gibeon to Jerusalem, he had a feast with his servants. This underscores the importance of relating well with those we work with.

5.0 WALKING IN GOD’S WAYS

We should see the five lessons from King Solomon as forming a circle on which the first point (the God-Father) and the fifth point (Walking in God’s Ways) overlap. That is, seeking the face of God should always go with obedience to His will or commandments. Thus, in blessing Solomon with wisdom, riches and honour, God added: “If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life” (1 Kings 3:14). Unfortunately, as Solomon became famous because of his wisdom and riches, he disobeyed God’s commandments especially by worshipping the gods of his many foreign wives. As a result, after his death, his kingdom was divided into, the northern part was to be soon conquered and some decades later, the people of the southern part were sent into exile in Babylon.

Unfortunately, today, many of us are like King Solomon, we do big thanksgivings and pray for God’s blessings on assumption of office. However, we are not diligent or constant in obeying His commandments. The sad end of the story of King Solomon should be a great lesson for us all; let us always match our seeking of God’s blessing with our obedience to His commandments.

6.0 CONCLUSION

We have been reminded that whenever we are entrusted with an office be it public or private, we should uphold the God-factor, often make our SWOT Analysis, discharge our duties as stewards, maintain good human relations, and substantiate our faith in the God-factor by walking in His ways. Then, both the institution/nation we serve and ourselves may be blessed abundantly!

Once again, congratulations to you, Mrs. Victoria Kunbuor! May the Lord God whose face you have sought today enable you to keep His commandments, so that GIMPA and your career will be enriched!

Long live GIMPA as it charters new courses for the advancement of our nation Ghana!

Amen!

By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis

Fr. John Louis

Very Rev. Fr. John Kobina Louis is a priest of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the liturgical year by Rev. Fr. Dr. John Kobina Louis of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.