The wisdom of Solomon

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May 29, 2011 by David Miller

I attended a family  church service at the Vineyard church in Coleraine last Sunday while visiting family in Northern Ireland. The talk by the pastor, Alan Scott, was fantastic. It was based on 1 Kings Chapter 10 about the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon (taken from the Message ‘s paraphrasing of the Bible).

I remember in 1998 visiting one of the last remaining building from the Queen of Sheba, in the province of Ma’arib, that stands on the edge of what is known as the Ru’ab Al Khali (or in English, The Empty Quarter), the great desert of the Arabian Peninsula that covers the majority of Saudi Arabia, and in this case, Yemen (also see this photo (credit to Claude@Munich). It was a reminder that what so often we can see as simple make-believe stories in books like the Bible actually did involve real people, in real communities, in real buildings, long ago.

The talk spoke of the importance of churches acknowledging their historical (and current) failure to empower women in church communities to follow their dreams, and how so often, generally speaking, Christians see their ‘calling’ as having greatest value when that work is conducted through a church – but that in fact it’s more a question of bringing the Good News into an individual’s sphere of influence.

It reminded me of a book that I have previously read by an American called Dick Bolles, who in the 1970s was an Episcopalian preacher, and who wrote what turned out to be best the world’s best selling book on career guidance, selling in excess of 10 million copies worldwide ever since. It’s called ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute‘ and is one of the best buys you could ever make.

The author talks about a person finding meaning in their work by finding the point at which 3 roads/paths cross: (1) the road of one’s best transferable skills; (2) the road of the subject matter of the thing that most excites you, your passion (drama, numbers, art, sport, teaching, climbing, whatever); and (3) the road in the world where you discern the greatest need for God’s love – and the point where these 3 roads meet is where career (and to a large extent personal) satisfaction will be found.

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