Advocating for religion in a pluralistic society and in Canadian public life

Solomonic Wisdom: Heart for eternity

Solomon penned a couple proverbial sayings as signposts to guide people on their quest for immortality, For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die …God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end …  A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.  And the day you die is better than the day you are born. (Eccl. 3:1,2,11; 7:1-2)

I've shared this wise saying, as printed on a small card, with hundreds of people from various countries, cultures and creeds. Here is what I say when I give someone the card, “Here's a gem of wisdom which is something of a brainteaser. I think you might enjoy puzzling over it.” Many people have immediately read it and then responded warmly.

Some even became intrigued and in this way a door opened to engage in friendly  conversation about spiritual things. Interestingly, Christians and Jews are not the only ones who believe Solomon was endowed by God with exceptional wisdom, Muslims also believe this. In fact, Scripture says Solomon's reputation was so far-reaching that leaders came from around the world to hear his wisdom. So I'm not surprised to see how people I've met from around the world have appreciated this wise saying of Solomon.

Over the last few years Canada has seen a huge influx of newcomers. Sadly, many mainstream Canadians who claim to follow Jesus, struggle to welcome these “strangers,” especially Muslims, even though hospitality (“philoxenia” - love of strangers) is such an important aspect of our Old Testament as well as Christ's teaching.

Another reason these sayings from Ecclesiastes are a helpful bridge for engaging in meaningful dialog, is that Muslims resonate with Sulaiman's advice taken from the same paragraph as the above mentioned quoted, “a wise person thinks a lot about death”. 

This blog was contributed by David Foster, raddad7@gmail.com.