“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it–and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind; and there was nothing to be gained under the sun!” Ecclesiastes 2:11
The author of the book of Ecclesiastes gives us his experience of the unsatisfying nature of all worldly honors and pleasures. Everything that could . . .
please the eye,
charm the ear,
gratify the taste, or
amuse and enrich the mind,
was by him, sought and enjoyed.
The whole circle of earth’s pleasures was tested.
But in the end, all is pronounced “vanity and a striving after wind.”
The disappointment results from the very nature of the soul.
Its capacity being illimitable–no finite enjoyment can fully meet its enlarged desires. Nothing but a faithful discharge of duty and the approving smile of God–can make the soul happy. Give the soul whatever you will, gratify every earthly wish, it will still be wretched if it is without God. All below is vanity.
The consideration that all worldly good must so soon be relinquished, is of itself enough to cast a shadow over its enjoyment. The heart must feel that there is nothing permanent here in this poor world.
“Life is but a vapor.”
All earth-born pleasures are transitory.
Death withers every flower as soon as it blooms.
Man too is hurried to the tomb, and then forgotten.
If then all below is stamped with vanity–then O, let us seek our all in God. Let us relinquish in desire, what we have been accustomed so much to value–that the soul may start anew in the race for a prize worthy of her struggles, and which when obtained will amply reward her toils. Let us fix our eye on the “unfading crown of glory!” And deliberately renounce this vain world, taking God for our only and all-sufficient portion!
Whether on earth we are known or unknown, honored or despised;
let us seek after this one thing:
to secure the favor of God,
to enjoy His presence, and
at last to be with Him and inherit His glorious kingdom!
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