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Majesty in the Mundane: Queen of Sheba


One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about a woman who is only mentioned a couple of times. Her story has so greatly impacted my life and the way I view the ordinary, boring parts of life. Look at 1 Kings 10



"1Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with riddles. 2So she came to Jerusalem with a very large caravan (entourage), with camels carrying spices, a great quantity of gold, and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about everything that was on her mind [to discover the extent of his wisdom]. 3Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he did not explain to her. 4When the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house (palace) which he had built, 5the food on his table, the seating of his servants (court officials), the attendance of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, his stairway by which he went up to the house (temple) of the Lord, she was breathless and awed [by the wonder of it all]. 6Then she told the king, “The report which I heard in my own land about your words and wisdom is true! 7I did not believe the report until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Behold, the half of it was not told to me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard. 8How blessed (fortunate, happy) are your men! How blessed are these your servants who stand continually before you, hearing your wisdom! 9Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, He made you king to execute justice and righteousness.” 10She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again did such an abundance of spices come in [to Israel] as that which the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon.11Also the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir a great quantity of almug wood (sandalwood) and precious stones. 12From the almug wood (sandalwood) the king made pillars for the house of the Lord and for the king’s palace, and also lyres and harps for the singers. Such almug wood did not come in [to Israel] again, nor has it been seen to this day.13King Solomon [in turn] gave to the queen of Sheba everything that she wanted, whatever she asked, besides what he gave to her from his royal bounty. So she returned to her own country, she and her servants.

Such a small moment in this story hit me so hard…she noticed the stairway up to the temple and that was one of the things that brought her to the Lord. All these other things - Solomon’s wisdom, the way his servants and wives treated him, their happiness, their clothing, and his wealth - I understand. Those are impressive and very noticeable…but a stairway?


A few chapters earlier, we read all about the building of the temple and how ornate and beautiful it was. Every part of it. We read about what materials were used in what areas and the kinds of carvings put into the walls and the undressed stones and the gold in the room for the Ark of the Covenant. You know what we don’t have detailed descriptions of? The stairway. It’s mentioned, but it’s not clear what it looks like or what it’s made of. It’s almost unnoticed…mentioned in fleeting. But you know who notices it 4 chapters later? The Queen of Sheba


The only reason I can think this woman would see the staircase and be so impressed, so moved to know this God of Solomon’s is that this staircase must have been made with an impressive level of craftsmanship. 


Friend, when you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter, that you aren’t making any kind of important contribution to the Kingdom of God, when your calling goes unnoticed, or your life feels small…you may just be building a staircase. And your staircase, while quiet and mundane, can be built with such an impressive level of dedication to beauty that spiritual (and maybe literal) kings and queens will be drawn to the Lord by your work. Yes, God will use the mundane and ordinary done with excellence and beauty for his glory and the redemption of people around you. 


The Queen of Sheba didn’t come for the staircase. She came for the wisdom and riches, but she stayed for the staircase. She came to know God because of the wisdom, riches, AND…a staircase


So build your staircase, sis. Build it with a dedication to beauty and the glory of God. Clean that toilet, raise those kids, serve in your church, work for your boss, love your husband, build your staircase for the glory of God. Your work, your dedication to craftsmanship and beauty in all you do, will win others to the Lord. 


Your staircase is important. And the Lord sees its beauty. 



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