“When the Queen had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on the table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters, and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entry way by which he went up to the House of the Lord, there was no more spirit within her; it took her breath away.”
Queen Sheba saw such a level of excellence (1 Kings 10:4) that she was left breathless. It’s amazing! Do we have a standard of excellence? You do whether you know it or not. You’re living at your standard of excellence. You might say, “Oh, no I’m not. My standard is much higher than my lifestyle.” Oh really? Do you believe that? I would call that self-deception, my friend. I love you, but that’s what I call that. And I’m not talking about rich or poor, not having a lot of money or having a lot of money, I’m talking about having standards in our lives. Solomon obviously had a high standard of excellence, and it was seen not only in his words, but also in his personal lifestyle and in the way that he carried himself. It was also evident in those he surrounded himself with and those who worked for him.
In fact, it’s an amazing thing that the Queen also noticed the food, the seating, the service, even the apparel of the waiters. She noticed the cupbearers and how they performed their work; she even took note of the entry way by which he went into the House of the Lord. She said in verse 6:
“It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom! However, I did not believe the words until I came for myself, indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men, and happy are your servants who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom.”
Even the people who worked for him were happy. Wow! How do you do that? I walk into most retail stores and grocery stores today, and I’m like, “I’d fire half of ya!” Many times I’ll ask someone who is working in retail, “How ya doing?” Usually the general answer is, “I can’t wait to get off.” And I’m thinking to myself, “If I were your boss and heard you say that, you’d be off from now on, honey. Cuz I don’t want you here if you don’t want to be. Go do something else!”
There's nothing worse than working or being with people who don’t want to be there. You know what they do? They sit and mumble and grumble about their jobs, and they don’t understand that they’re cursing their own lives! They’re just adding to their own misery by the words that they speak.
Now going back to Proverbs, there’s so much here about words, so much about our tongue. I’ve been amazed the last several days as I’ve been researching this. So what does the wealthiest and wisest man have to say about the words we speak? Let’s go to Proverbs 16:23, “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth.” Do you know that your mouth can be taught? Hello? You can teach your mouth what to say! If that weren’t true, it wouldn’t be in there, right? How deliberate are we at teaching our mouths what to say? And it is our heart that teaches our mouth and adds learning to the lips. Some of us need some good “lip-learning.” I love the way the Amplified Bible states it,
“The mind of the wise instructs his mouth and adds learning and persuasiveness to his lips.”
Let’s talk about persuasiveness. A lot of people are confused; they think that persuasiveness is manipulation. I want you to consider how your life would change if you could become more skilled at the art of persuasiveness. If you’re in sales, is there any greater gift than that of persuasiveness? Your job is to persuade people that your product is the best and that they can trust you.
I used to attend church with a guy who was tremendously successful at selling used automobiles. People trusted and loved him, and he made big, big money! He used to donate vans to our church and was one of the top givers. Tremendous success! He didn’t do it by ripping people off; he did not fit the image of how we unfortunately stereotype “used car salesmen.” But he was very persuasive, and everybody liked him. WOW! Think of how successful you would be in marriage if you used the art of persuasion, or possibly began applying it to your finances! I mean, just think, even in the area of physical healing, if you could persuade your body that you’re healed, wouldn’t you feel better? It’s the gift, the art of persuasiveness, and it’s not being manipulative.
Persuasiveness simply means to bring the other party around to your idea or way of thinking, to get them to change the way that they think about something and come into conformity regarding a new thought process. Isn’t that what sharing the Gospel is about? Think about how successful the Church would be if we learned the art of persuasiveness. If we went out and preached the Gospel in such a way that people would come around from their old way of thinking, see the light, and understand the Gospel because it’s been given to them in such as way that they can receive it?
We used to be very aggressive with Evangelism Explosion. And what I loved about it more than anything was the persuasiveness of that thing. I could sit with somebody who was an absolute Christ-rejecter and within fifteen to twenty minutes have them on the edge of their seat asking, “What must I do to be saved?” Now THAT’S the art of persuasion. That’s not manipulation. Manipulation is control and domination. Persuasiveness is simply the ability to communicate in such a way that others come into agreement with you. Solomon was actually very gifted at this. I consider him to have been a tremendous leader by just reading about the people who worked for him.
So the Word speaks to us that it is possible for you and I to teach and educate our mouths. Let’s take the opportunity today to minister godly, persuasive words that would help bring others closer to where they need to be with God. And while we’re at it, we might want to go ahead and persuade ourselves to come into alignment with the Word as well. Vickie and I pray you have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones. May God bless you abundantly this season.