Foreign Relations

by Carolyn Hope

When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, which brought honor to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. … When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. … Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. … King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for, besides all the customary gifts he had so generously given. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land. (1 Kings 10:1-3, 10, 13)

Solomon’s reputation and renown were worldwide. The queen of Sheba heard of his greatness, and I imagine she was skeptical. She came to test him, to see if what was spoken of Solomon was really true. He was able to answer every question and meet every issue she proposed.

What I’d like to focus on in this encounter is the peaceful generosity of both parties. There are many examples of wars and hostility among the nations, both in Scripture and in history. Here we find an interaction that was peaceful and kind. The queen of Sheba gave to Solomon; Solomon gave to her; and back and forth they went. Both powers left the exchange satisfied and blessed. They were better off than when they started, for they were both generous and willing to share not only riches but knowledge and experiences as well.

This is a great picture for us in how we should interact internationally. When encountering people radically different than yourself, choose to be kind. Choose to be generous. Share yourself with them, be gracious to them, and give. Be open and receptive to their questions and queries. Listen to others’ honesty without being offended. As we learn to be mutually kind and open ourselves up to each other, we’ll find a wealth greater than anything we’ve ever known. There’s a beauty in sharing our lives with others and a joy in hearing of theirs. Don’t be afraid to give yourself away; you won’t leave empty or dissatisfied.

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