Vanity of Vanity – all is Vanity

Sep 23, 2020 US Blog, Vanity


“Then I looked on all the works of my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Eccl 2:11).

Solomon had vineyards, gardens and orchards. He had pools of water; he built many mansions; he had silver and gold, men singers and women singers. Although these may not be sinful pleasures they are indeed pleasures of the world.

Being the richest king of his time, Solomon could enjoy all the pleasures of the world, and this he did try. But the statement he makes at the end of his life is that all those pleasures, in the end, only brought trouble to his spirit (vexation of spirit), and that his inner man was restless.

He confessed the emptiness (vanity) of his heart. He reportedly says, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” The more he tried to enjoy the world, the more miserable and unhappy he became.

Apart from the life that comes from God, everything is emptiness or vanity. The Psalmist says, “In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore”(Psa 16:11).

St Paul emptied himself of everything in the world and, towards the end of his life, although in prison and waiting to be executed, he was jubilant.
Look at the triumphant words of this saint: “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous….Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice!” (Phil 3:1).

“I have all and abound: I am full” (Phil 4:18).

Look at the contrast between St Paul who counted all things as loss for Christ and Solomon who had all the pleasures of the world. The end of the man who counted all things as loss for Christ had a joy and triumph. Even today St Paul’s life and his words give life and light to millions.
Living a lowly life for the sake of Christ will bring joy, peace and triumph, particularly at the end of our life.

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