This morning I began reading Ecclesiastes. If you’re familiar with this little book you know that Solomon wrote it towards the end of his life. God had given to Solomon the gift of wisdom. Solomon was also the author of Proverbs where much of his wisdom is recorded for man’s day to day use. I found however as I began reading Ecclesiastes today that Solomon and I have come to a similar conclusion.
I’m not trying to place myself in the category of wisdom like Solomon, so let me explain. Last Friday when I was attending the day of training for those of us who do the consulting work, I spoke with another one of us for which I have a lot of respect. She had told me a few months back that she was going to quit this work in another year or so. This time I was talking to her about my desires to stay with the work until the work had seemed to begin taking root and showed evidence of “not needing me anymore”. When I had retired 11 years ago this was my internal goal (drive). This morning Solomon is saying that in all of his life he had discovered all there was to know and do as a man. Yet, now that he was nearing the end of life he was finding that this had little effect, if any, on the future of the next generation. This is exactly what I’m finding now that I’m nearing the end of my professional work. No matter how solid one may think their ideas are, they are still up to the next person to agree and follow it. Man has his own choice and this is true in every aspect of our lives. When my father died I remember saying that with his death went all of his knowledge about mechanics, carpentry, and other aspects for which he was very wise. I had few of them in these areas and had always wanted to glean more even though in all of my previous efforts it hadn’t happened.
Ecclesiastes is a book of reality. The hope of new life, new generation, the promises of God’s Word are all true but they are true one person at a time. I’m realizing it is most important to help each individual I encounter and those who want to grow. I still have this year and next to finish this, but I’m likely to stop thinking this profession of education will grow into a sustainable model of excellence! At some point I will walk away and be glad I was able to be in it as long as I have been. And for this, I will praise God!