Ecclesiastes 2:18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.
Solomon’s motives really stank! He was so self-centered and selfish that the idea of leaving what he had worked for to someone else, even his own son, got all over him. How pathetic! It’s no wonder he was so terribly unhappy, because selfishness never leads to happiness. That attitude wasn’t unusual then, and it isn’t unusual now. The Book of Daniel lets us know that “Oh king, live forever,” was a standard greeting for rulers, and rulers in Egypt and China and other places did all they thought they could to “take it with them” into the afterlife. Again, how pathetic! Solomon’s wisdom told him that a person who yields everything to God has the most happiness, as he says in verses 24-26 of this very chapter, but his selfishness kept him from doing it himself. It has been rightly said that there is no success without a successor, especially in any leadership role, but Solomon, for all his vaunted wisdom, couldn’t see that. The answer to the dilemma he expresses here is to do everything for God, rather than for your successor or even for yourself. Paul addressed that wisdom to slaves, who on the surface of things had to do everything for their masters. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24) A person who does that can find satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy in whatever they set their hands to do.
This certainly applies to me, especially since the matter of a successor is increasingly urgent. I have had multiple potential successors over my years of ministry, but each has gone off in one way or another, and I currently have no obvious candidate. That’s not to say I’m to give up, either in seeking a successor or in applying myself to the work at hand. I am indeed to work at everything with all my heart, not for any lesser motive but as a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord Himself. Doing my best for Him is the least I can do, considering all that He has done for me. That has the added benefit of the assurance that if I am doing His work, He will supply everything needed for it. He even supplies the necessary will in me to get it done! (Philippians 2:13) There is no greater pleasure and satisfaction than doing God’s work in fellowship with Him by His Spirit.
Father, thank You for this reminder. The devil works overtime to distract me from this reality. Help me indeed submit fully to You and resist him firmly, just as You have said to do. (James 4:7) May I do Your will in Your way on Your schedule, today and every day, producing Your results for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!