Should leaders fear what might happen to their legacy after they die?
King David became the beloved leader of Israel and by the time he died, all of his followers believed he was the perfect leader. “Whatever the king did pleased all the people,*” is a rare statement.
David was succeeded by his son Solomon who took the kingdom to a whole new level and impressed the entire world with his wisdom and riches (credit to his father’s excellent training and succession plan). But in the end Solomon ‘clung in love’ to women he had gathered from the nations and, as God had warned, he worshiped a long list of gods that came with those women.
After Solomon died the country was divided and destroyed because his son, Rehoboam, was an idiot. And the nation who once loved David’s leadership said (what would translate as), “screw you David!”**
A few thousand years later, we all love David again and take some of our greatest life and leadership lessons from him, but, David’s legacy was out of David’s control after David died, and so it is with us. I ought not invest my precious days into my own fame and legacy, but into the empowerment of those who will lead here after I’m gone.
My post-mortum success truly depends on my present motivation.
If you find yourself tempted to leave a great name for yourself, read the warning on the package.
WARNING: NARCISSISM IS ADDICTIVE AND CAN CAUSE A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH FOLLOWED BY FUNERAL WHERE THEY SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT YOU THAT AREN’T TRUE. RIP
* II Samuel 3:36