Working on a Dream




Saturday, June 22, 2013

Don't Waste your Life

"Vanity of Vanities," says the Preacher, "All is Vanity."

Famous words from a very wise man. If you are not familiar with the phrase, let me help update it in a way that a guy living in the year 2013 can understand. "Life is hopeless, it has no point at all."  
Depressed?  Me too.

I have often wondered why one would teach such a thing, until I understood the bigger idea that the author of Ecclesiastes is trying to convey.  Let me attempt to elaborate his message by way of an illustration.  
The Great Wall of China, in the height of its grandeur stretched for four thousand miles. It was guarded by a million soldiers during the Ming Dynasty and during its erection two to three million people died building it. Oh, and it took several centuries to build too. The Great Wall of China has been hailed as one of man's greatest achievements; yet today much of the wall has crumbed away ... literally miles of the wall vanish each year without constant attention and repair.

"Vanity of Vanities," says the Preacher, "All is Vanity." 
"One generation passes away, and another comes; but the earth abides forever..."

No matter now much you or I "toil under the sun" , the author teaches that man will never find true satisfaction.  People have insurmountable thirst for money, status, power, women, clothes, and everything in between, yet all of man's greatest achievements will eventually rot.

Think of the fabulous Egyptian empire.
A superpower in its day. Marvelous inventions, unfathomable beauty and colossal pyramids. Today, most of the greatness is found in history books.  The tombs are empty and the pyramids are crumbling.  And make no mistake about it, one day our great nation will do the same.

"Vanity of Vanities," says the Preacher, "All is Vanity."
"One generation passes away, and another comes; but the earth abides forever ... The sun also rises and the sun goes down, ad hastens to its place. The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north ... 
All rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full."

This can all be very dark, that is unless you realize that the Preacher is trying to emphasize a certain point: life without God is absolutely pointless. We find this point at the very end of the book of Ecclesiastes.  I believe the author does this as an alliterative device, so as to drive home his main thrust of life being meaningless without God. "When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity." The idea is that God will put things in perspective for you. His Word is the litmus test for what is truly enduring in your life and what you should be spending the majority of your time pursing. I've found that His guidance is like a long strait stick that I can take and lay alongside anything so to show its true worth.  Follow His ways, and you will avoid wasting your life.  This is why you find many mega-stars pursuing meaningful endeavors like adopting and donating exorbitant amounts of money to charities.  Notice, they pursue these types of meaningful activities only after they make their wealth.  The reason? They search for significance. Somewhere along the line, they wised up and felt exactly what the wise teacher was emphasizing in his timeless book. 

In conclusion, I want to share with you a little poem I ran across that stayed with me.  It is by C. T. Studd and goes like this:

“Two little lines I heard one day,

Traveling along life’s busy way;

Bringing conviction to my heart,

And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,

Soon will its fleeting hours be done;

Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,

And stand before His Judgement seat;

Only one life,’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last."

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