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What faith can spare you(th) from
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” These are the words Solomon wrote based on his own experiences.
Vanity of vanities – An observation based on experience
“’Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’” Ecclesiastes 1:2.
If we believe what is written in book of Ecclesiastes, we can be spared from many worthless pursuits in life. One can imagine that Jesus must have read this book in the earlier years of His life and taken it to heart. Solomon wrote about vanity and futility based on his own experiences: “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:10-11.
Vast numbers of people have, to varying degrees, sought the same during their days “under the sun.” They gave in to whatever their eyes desired and did not withhold their hearts from any pleasure, only to arrive at more or less the same conclusion: “vanity of vanities!” It’s all vanity (futility) and grasping for the wind. It doesn’t lead to happiness and fulfillment, but only to greater emptiness. So it is great wisdom for a young person to avoid joining that vast number of people. How? By believing the words of Solomon. Believing that allpursuits are only “grasping for the wind,” so that they don’t give themselves over to them. Then, they can use their days to seek that which brings eternal benefit!
Life is a very short journey of sowing to either the good or the evil and reaping the results of what we have sown. (Galatians 6:7-8.) Solomon makes the emptiness we will reap if have our minds set on the things of the earth very clear. It is no wonder he gives this advice: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ’I have no pleasure in them.’” Ecclesiastes 12:1. If we do not do this, not only will we miss opportunities to store up eternal treasures, but we will experience unpleasant days as life progresses. It is staggering to think of the broken marriages and homes, imprisonments, unwanted addictions, needless debts, friendship-ending grudges, and many other sorrows people could be spared from by taking heed to this!
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The conclusion of the whole matter
Solomon ends the book with the wisdom that teaches us the way to live a life that is in complete opposition to grasping for the wind: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. If, instead of giving in to whatever our eyes desire – theand passions of the – we give ourselves wholly to obedience to God’s word, we will cultivate a blessed with Jesus and others who choose this same path. We can spend our life storing up treasures in heaven.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20.
At the end of his gospel, John reflects on Jesus’ relatively short life: “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” John 21:25. It seems John had his thoughts not only on Jesus’ many outward works (healings, other miracles, kind deeds, edifying messages, etc.), but also on the work taking place in His. For example, when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert with thoughts to exalt Himself, He overcame the temptations with the word of God. (Mathew 4:1-11.)
This inward faithfulness afforded Him abundant opportunities to please God in the midst of everyday life. It is evident that Jesus used all possible moments of His life doing what Solomon stated as life’s purpose – fearing God and keeping His commandments. May many follow His footsteps by giving themselves entirely to doing the will of God and thus avoiding the futility of seeking worldly gain. May we rather store up for ourselves treasures that have value for now and all eternity! How very different from living our lives to try and satisfy our lusts and ending up with the same conclusion as Solomon: Vanity of vanities.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.