Today's reading leaves me with a huge dilemma and it involves how hard we work. Let's see what it says first:
"Nothing that I had worked for and earned meant a thing to me, because I knew that I would have to leave it to my successor, and he might be wise, or he might be foolish—who knows? Yet he will own everything I have worked for, everything my wisdom has earned for me in this world. It is all useless. So I came to regret that I had worked so hard." - Ecclesiastes 2:18-20
At a glance we see that Solomon is concerned that his years of hard labour, grinding effort and sacrifices are going to be handed over to his children and he is not sure if they will appreciate those gifts. In the end, he has no control over how they will react when he has passed on, but I guess he does have another option. That option is to instruct his kids in the best way possible and to trust that they will appreciate his inheritance and the legacy he leaves.
Of course there is no guarantee of this and history tells us that his son (and successor) Rehoboam wasn't well received by the people of Israel. In fact, 10 out of the 12 tribes refused to accept him as their king and so he only ruled over the Kingdom of Judah (or the Southern King).
I am a little uncomfortable with the last part of today's reading where he says: "I came to regret that I had worked so hard." The reason I am uncomfortable is more along the lines of finding a balance. It is TRUE that we should never make work our Idol and pursue our careers at the cost of family and other important values. However, there is also merit in working our best/hardest, as if we are working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
What do you think? Or am I perhaps just over-analysing Solomon's point?
Living in Grace