Living Words Sown by a Dead King

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

A writer I admire keeps popping into my life and telling me to keep writing—although he’s been dead for centuries.

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap,” he wrote. “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiates 11:4,6).

Solomon wrote those words. His advice motivates me to keep sending out manuscripts after more than 40 years.

When God gave Solomon wisdom, a significant work ethic jolted to life as well. The Book of Kings says Solomon, David’s son, authored 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs.[1]  He wrote three books in our Bible—Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.

He probably scratched the words in longhand with a reed on a roll of animal skins in a noisy palace with 700 wives, 300 concubines, and no telling how many children.

As king, Solomon ruled Israel, designed and built the first Jewish temple, and as a judge settled disputes such as the two hysterical women shrieking and crying about a baby. Despite these duties, we know Solomon made time to write.

Solomon lived almost 3,000 years ago, yet his words impact the 21st Century. He wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, but the songs and books didn’t appear by themselves. A human hand clutched the reed to write the words and a body with aching shoulders sat or stood many hours over the manuscripts.

I’ll never forget Solomon’s advice: Don’t wait for an ideal time to work, and work even if the outcome is unknown.[2]

I wrote for Christian publications before I had children. I wrote and sold stories when I had five children. I free lanced before I graduated from college. I continued after I had my degree and went back to work full time. I sold my writing when I was young—and still write even though I’m older. I wrote when I was discouraged, and wrote when I was on top of the world.

I admit writing over decades brought challenges. Editors I knew retired or died. Free lance demand decreased as staff started writing more instead of going through free lance submissions. Queries became all important because so many editors assigned articles they needed.

Rejections still come my way, but so do checks. I enjoy the satisfaction of a piece with my name on it appearing in print to encourage others.

Solomon would probably agree with Phillip Brooks who wrote, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men!  Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.”[3]


Ada Brownell, a retired newspaper reporter, has had more than 200 articles and stories published in Christian magazines, one book and chapters in five books. She is critique group chair of the Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.  Visit Ada’s website at:

[1] 1 Kings 4:32

[2] Ecclesiates 11:6NLT

[3] John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, page 613

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