In 3:22 the Preacher surmises that a man should find joy in his own work since that is his portion, i.e., this is what he has opportunity to do to fulfill his God-given responsibility to work. Of course, we know from all of the Scripture that one is to do his work as unto the Lord and do it in the strength of the Lord. Only then will one find true joy in his own work.
Then, in the same verse, he asks, “Who can bring him to see what will be after him?” In one sense we know that no one can know the future. No one can tell us what the future holds in this life. That is why Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34) Since we can’t know the future, we should trust God’s provision (Matthew 6:25-33) while we do our “own work” for his glory and by his strength.
But in another sense we have a perfect answer for the question, “Who can bring him to see what will be after him?” Answer: God through his Word. In this sense the future we are speaking of comes after death. What will be after us when we die? God has told us what awaits us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. All we have to do is read it and believe it. Paul lets us know that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-10) We can know with certainty “what will be after [us]” in an eternal sense because the Lord has revealed it to us in his Word. Glory!
So, Preacher of Ecclesiastes, our eternal future is secure in Christ. Above all else, the one thing that is not “vanity” is knowing Christ and following him.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the certainty of eternity as revealed in your Word. Thank you for the gospel that fills our mind and filters our thoughts as we read the words of the Preacher of Ecclesiastes. Thank you for giving us work in which to find fulfillment as we look forward to the day when our work is done and we rest in you.