David & Solomon: Setting Up Your Successor For Success

David ruled Israel from 1000-960 BC and his son, Solomon, ruled from 960-920 BC. David was Israel’s greatest king: he unified the country, defeated the Philistine threat, built major civic projects and palaces, and prepared the way (and supplies) for Solomon to build the first permanent temple in Judaism. That temple lasted about 350 years and was the focal point of Judaism. Its restoration became a rallying cry of Jewish nationalism.

1st Kings in the Bible describes the materials, construction, foremen, and laborers needed to build the temple using a LOT of detail. The person most responsible for prepping for the temple was King David, but he never saw it. His job was to gather all the things needed to build the temple so that his son, Solomon, could do the actual building. David’s job was to create a platform so that his successor could be a success.

Pastors who are within five years of retirement have one primary job – to take care of things in the church (some of which have been lingering for years) so that his or her successor is set up for success. This involves making some hard decisions about personnel and/or volunteers, reallocation of budget figures, changing some of the expectations of the church about its leaders, and in general ensuring that all the minefields within the church have been cleared. A longtime and soon retiring pastor should have enough clout to do all these things and still retire gracefully. His financial future will not be dependent on the church when he retires, and that knowledge should free him up to make long-delayed decisions which can help the next generation.

David ruled and finished well as king. He made mistakes and he was vain, but for the most part his motives were pure. Yes, David was used by some of the people around him, including the conspiracy regarding his successor. But David knew that all that he did over the course of his 40-year reign could fall apart if he didn’t gather the materials and wise counsel his son and successor would need. In turn, Solomon was able to stand taller on his dad’s shoulders than he could have on his own. Solomon completed some of his dad’s unfinished stuff (the temple) but did a lot on his own (foreign relations). Solomon’s time was good for the country and good for him (albeit he made some unwise choices in his wives and advisors). Solomon’s success is directly related to David’s setting him for success.

Are you a David who will retire in a few years? If so, what are you doing to intentionally set up the next generation for success? Are you finishing well or just barely crossing the finish line? Be like David and help your successor be a success.

Lead On!