The Vanity Of Life

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2)

The Vanity Of Life

There are many ways to begin the writing of a book. The first sentence will set the tone for the rest of the book in capturing the reader’s attention. Solomon begins his thesis on life with the statement that everything is vanity – everything. The book is called Ecclesiastes, after the Greek word for the term “preacher” or “teacher.” Solomon refers to himself as one who calls an assembly. He wants to direct his readers’ attention to the complexities of life and the final analysis of the futility found in seeking worldly happiness. The nature of man is to expend himself completely in seeking after all the things life has to offer, and when he dies, he finds all he gained is lost. Life is not pointless, but it is vanity if a man seeks to gain the whole world and lose his soul.

The vanity of life is the failure of the human heart to know who he truly is. Everything about the world fools the man into believing he will never die. Happiness is found in the things of this world. Life is about getting all the gusto, and the man with the most toys wins. Knowledge is exalted as the god of wisdom. Albert Einstein was one of the smartest men that lived in the past few years, but that knowledge did not keep him from dying. Henry Ford was worth $200 billion, but on April 7, 1947, his net worth became zero when he died at 84. Hugh Heffner created an empire built on the sexual pleasures of the flesh, which all ended in 2017 when he died at 91. No one has reached the apex of gaining all the world has to offer than found in the life of Solomon. He became great and excelled more than any man. Solomon reigned in Jerusalem for forty years, and he died.

Why is life vanity? After examining every aspect of life, Solomon concludes his book with why life is a vain pursuit. Jeremy Taylor said, “Life is short, yet upon this short life, eternity depends.” Life becomes vain when every effort of man is directed to what is here and now. God created man as an eternal creature that inhabits a body that begins to perish upon birth. No man can live forever in the flesh. Death is the consequence of sin, and all men die. Life is only vain when the focus is only on this world. There is nothing vain about a life that knows there is a God, seeks His wisdom, and prepares himself for the judgment. A day is coming when everything a man does in life will be brought before the throne of a righteous judge. Vanity is the sad reality most find in death because they realize too late there is more to life than riches, wisdom, and pleasures.

Solomon found too late in life the failings of his own decisions. He began as a man seeking after the Lord. Later in life, the foreign wives he desired led him away from God. If the book of Ecclesiastes is a testimony to the vanity of life, Solomon defined in absolute terms what happens when someone seeks everything in this world and fails to prepare for the life to come. All that is gained in this life remains but what remains in a life of vanity is nothing. To make life meaningful, full of purpose and hope, turn to the word of God and live for Jesus Christ. At the end of life, it will not have been a vain life but a gained life.

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