This morning, in my 2009 journey through the Bible, I found myself reading the opening chapters of Ecclesiastes. I’m an optimist, so I often find myself arguing with the man who wrote this book. I know why it is in the Scriptures but I still wish the author had been a bit more hopeful.
And then this morning I read his particular fears about what would happen to his work after he was gone. He decided that he hated all of his labors because “I must leave it to those who come after me — and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish” (Ecclesiastes 2:18-19)?
Suddenly I felt very sorry for the writer. I would be sad, too, if I were worried about the person following me in this position. The past nearly three years have been demanding in so many ways. They have taken their toll not only in time but in a huge investment of physical and spiritual energy. At this point, our seminary is in a place of great strength and promise. Now so much depends on the new leader.
So if I were wondering whether that leader will be “wise or foolish,” I think I would be almost as despondent as the writer of Ecclesiastes. Fortunately, I have no such worries. As I look at Timothy Tennent’s record, as I review his education and experience, as I talk with him and correspond with him, I rejoice that in the providence of God he will soon be Asbury’s eighth president.
I confess gladly that he will bring some gifts to this post that I do not have. I am confident of his ability, his dedication, his love for Christ and for the work of the kingdom, and his commitment to Wesleyan education and ministry.
So I will leave the sad song to Ecclesiastes. I look to Asbury’s future with glad excitement, grateful that I am privileged to be part of the continuing faculty as this new era unfolds.