Inspiring Men and Women
God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore ... he spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.
1 Kings 4 29-34
This passage from the book of Kings should activate the most intense joy in any believer in the God of the Bible. For we are all called to be curious and jolly as we explore this amazing world. Solomon was a poet, composer, botanist, zoologist. How astonishing that he also found time to be king and master of such a gigantic harem!
In this article
I want to give some very concrete examples of people who have struggled and are
struggling (like Solomon) to serve God in different areas of life. It's easy to
talk about dualism and the radical nature of the
The famous astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote of being “called” by God to use his talents in his work as an astronomer. In one of his notebooks, Kepler broke spontaneously into prayer:
“I give you thanks, Creator and God, that you have given me this joy in Thy creation, and I rejoice in the works of your hand. See I have now completed the work to which I was called. In it I have used all the talents you have lent to my spirit.” 
This prayer is wonderfully subversive in that it affirms the calling of any scientist and beckons us joyfully to understand the world that God has shaped and crafted so wisely. It would have been so tragic if Kepler had been persuaded to give up his work as a scientist and go 'full-time' for the Lord!
Let's now turn to a poet. Gerard Manley Hopkins had an astonishing vocation as a poet. This English wordsmith oozed talent and crafted this bobbydazzler:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil.
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not wreck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
It seems to me
Harry S Trueman once said that banks are institutions that lend
money to people who can prove that they don't need it. It was this prevailing
attitude that led a young African-American Christian named Bob Lavelle to set up a bank that modelled an entirely
different approach. In the 1950's in
“Dwelling House attempts to reverse the traditional banking rule - by lending to people who may not be 'good risks', at the lowest practical interest rate. Our goal is to approach people with respect and through encouragement and patient financial counselling, to help them become good risks. This follows God's command to serve the poor and needy.”
Just like Kepler and Hopkins, Lavelle challenges the very core of dualism by integrating his faith with his 'full-time' profession.
Tony Campolo, in his excellent book Wake up America, writes
movingly about a woman called
“If you are lonely or have a problem, call me. I am in a wheelchair and seldom get out. We can share our problems with each other. Just call. I'd love to talk”.
The results have
been amazing. Each week at least thirty
people - the scientist, the poet, the banker and the extraordinary counsellor -
can inspire and infuse us with a passion for the
The Big Picture Volume2 Issue2 page 36
 Cited in Christopher Kaiser, Creation and the History of Science (