Read: Ecclesiastes 9:13-18
In one commentary on Eccl. 9:15, Martin Luther mentions the story of Themistocles, the soldier and statesman who commanded the Athenian regiment. Through his strategy, he won the Battle of Salamis, drove the Persian army from Greece, and saved his city. A few years later, he fell out of favour, was disliked by his people, and was exiled from Athens. Luther concludes, “Themistocles did much good for his city, but received much ingratitude.”
The crowd seems to quickly forget the good that the poor and humble man accomplishes through his wisdom. Eccl. 9:16 says, “Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless, the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.” It is better to be an honest and wise person who, though forgotten, leaves much good behind, than a boastful and noisy fool who, though many praise him, “destroys much good” (Eccl. 9:18).
What matters in the end is not the recognition, fame and gratitude we receive for the work we have done, but the souls of those gentle people in whom we have sown the seeds of righteousness. A wise person sets his earthly goals on heavenly gains. Jesus said in Luke 7:35, “Wisdom is justified by all her children.” What are you investing in? Whom have you influenced through your honesty and godly wisdom?