And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, and their clothing, his cupbearers, and their clothing, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her. And she said to the king, "The report was true that I heard. ... Blessed be the Lord your God." 2 Chronicles 9:3-5, 8 (ESV)
The queen of Sheba had heard of the fame and wisdom of Solomon and she thought, “I have to see it for myself.” The Bible records her visit in this wonderful passage, giving us insight into the nature of excellence and wisdom.
When the queen saw the wisdom of Solomon in the house he built, in how the food was made, in how his servants were clothed and how his place was arranged, it took her breath away. In other words, she was overwhelmed by God’s wisdom, as manifested in Solomon’s excellence. This is because excellence is a visible manifestation of the wisdom of God.
This is fascinating. The way in which King Solomon arranged his furniture, practiced organizational management, thoughtful style, architectural beauty and trained excellent servants actually pointed to God’s wisdom. This in turn helped the Queen of Sheba see God more clearly and exclaim in adoration, “Blessed be the Lord your God!” Solomon’s excellence gave the Queen of Sheba visible proof of God’s wisdom and an opportunity to encounter God and give Him praise.
I wonder what would happen if our churches were to become known for this kind of excellence. I wonder what kind of impact we could have if our churches began to manifest God’s wisdom in this way. I believe it would make our churches more attractive to the movers, shakers, intellectuals and influencers of our generation, enabling us to have a wider reach for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, let us give God our best. If we preach, let us study and prepare well. If we are musicians, let us practice and be excellent. If we plan events and services, let us do it with diligence. If we love and serve people, let us do it with cheerfulness. If we welcome or greet or usher, let us do it with enthusiasm. If we decorate, let us do it with creativity. If we give, let us do it with generosity. And if we pray with others, let us do it with a lot of faith. Let us serve our home churches wholeheartedly and with excellence, as Solomon did in the house of the Lord.
Prayer: Father, thank You for accomplishing an excellent redemption. Jesus, thank You for revealing God’s wisdom to us. Holy Spirit, please empower us to honor You in all that we do, especially in doing all things with excellence, so that our churches would reflect Your wisdom and bring You glory and praise. Amen.
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union at Harvard
Selected Resources to Explore for a Cultural Revolution in The Church
AUDIO (50:27): George Otis on Revival
In this talk from the Christian Union Cities Conference, June 2018, in New York City, George Otis, Jr. gives an overview of the history of revivals in the United States. Mr. Otis is the founder and president of The Sentinel Group, a U.S.-based Christian research, media, and training agency dedicated to helping revival-hungry communities discover the pathway to societal transformation.
ARTICLE (3 pages): “Prayer: Rebelling Against the Status Quo” by David Wells
In this brief essay, a leading evangelical theologian argues–as the title suggests–that prayer is the primary means by which we state our disapproval and dissatisfaction with the current state of the world. Wells uses Christ’s parable of the persistent widow to illustrate this crucial and oftentimes ignored aspect of prayer.
BOOK (304 pages): Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness by Erwin Lutzer
How do we live faithfully in a country becoming more and more hostile to our faith in Christ?
Like the Israelites in Babylon, we must find a way to maintain our faith in the midst of a pagan culture. In this book, Dr. Lutzer addresses the questions of “How did we get here?” and “How do we prepare for the dark and difficult days ahead?”