Vanity of Vanities! All is vanity!

Oddly, Ecclesiastes packs a punch even though it is talking about the listlessness of life. Life is vanity, we are a vapor, there is no point. If this were entirely true, then it is surprising that the author intends for you to keep reading more than one chapter.

There is meaning in life, and it comes through in Ecclesiastes, but much of the book is devoted to talk about what has no real worth.

I think this resonates with many in today’s world who have had the realization that they live a life with no purpose. Some leave jobs and lives behind to forge a new path searching for meaning. Others reject the values of wealth and power that society seeks to lift up hoping to live life according to a better principle or philosophy.

This creates a great opportunity to shine a light on what Christ offers. To those without, he gives direction. In Christ we all have a calling. We have a purpose as we seek to be his disciples, loving God and loving others. Participating in his kingdom work is of great worth and eternal value. The world offers goals like get a bigger house, have more cable channels on your bigger TV, and gain fame. But these are vanity and are nothing in comparison to the revolutionary purpose of living for Jesus.

Abundant Life is Not Abundant Possessions

The section we read this week from Luke dealt with possessions in a few different ways. Jesus asks his twelve to go out to proclaim the kingdom of God and tells them to leave behind your possessions–no staff, no bag, no money. When later in chapter ten Jesus sends out seventy-two, his instructions are very similar. He sends them out carrying no¬†stuff.

The Rich Fool thinks swimming in solid gold is a pleasurable experience.

Chapter twelve has the parable of the rich fool, who puts so much stock in what he has today, but forgets that he has no guarantee of his future. The fool puts his present day in order neglecting the eternal and is called out as God says, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”

This goes along with the sentiment, “you can’t take it with you.” Why invest so much in what cannot last? Why worry yourselves about things that will perish, while all the while neglecting what will last forever?

The warning is against those who lay up treasure for themselves and are not rich toward God. Being rich toward God matters far more than any other so-called riches, for as it says earlier in the chapter, “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Instead we have life and abundance in Jesus Christ. He says in John 10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

If abundant life is what we seek, we are better to look beyond our stuff. We should look to Christ and set our minds on things that are above, where Christ is, and not to things on earth (Col 3:1-2). Only in that relationship will we be satisfied. That relationship is what lasts and is of eternal value.