The wise king and preacher, Solomon, told of his search for life’s meaning, in his discourse on vanity in Ecclesiastes. In it he named “vanity” thirty three times. Six times he said “all is vanity” with which he opened and closed his book. Ecclesiastes 1:2; 12:8. The word vanity means emptiness; something transitory or unsatisfactory.
Did Solomon intend for us to believe that we should not enjoy such things as leisure activities, a good education, excellence at our job, investments on Wall Street, etc. etc. etc.? NO! The point to Solomon’s conclusion, “all is vanity,” is that nothing of this world will satisfy our God given emptiness but God Himself.
Our world is filled with a hungry humanity. They search for happiness and satisfaction in things of this world only to remain depraved souls. People are living for work, sports, entertainment, travel, hobbies, etc. They have a desperate need for self-aggrandizement – self-importance. Apart from God this is all vanity which leaves people unfulfilled and unsatisfied.
Did Solomon offer an antidote or remedy for the vanity lifestyle? Is there something that will prevent vanity from ruining our lives? Yes. Solomon wrote, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. This is the antidote or prevention for vanity.
Everyone everywhere is subject to God’s commandments but they won’t obey until they come to God in faith in Jesus Christ. Solomon testified that the works and deeds of every person will be Divinely judged. Those who live for self and chase the world are vain and will be so judged. Christians will have their works judged by a different standard.
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Colossians 3:17. This is the spiritual test for the works of Christians. Are we living for Christ? Are we conscious of Christ in whatever we do or say? Are we wanting the glory of Christ to shine through whatever we do and speak? God knows and we should too.
I say, therefore, Christians can freely engage in work, play, entertainment, travel, hobbies, etc. because we have a different perspective than those living vainly. Yea, we can enjoy and excel in these things because ultimately we are living for Jesus Christ through whom we are made obedient to God.
Vanity, Vanity – it need not beset you, dear Christian.