A Wise Man’s Vanity – Eccl. chpt. 1


It’s been said that getting old is not for the faint of heart. Normally, the context of such statements is physical health. The body breaks down as at ages. So as we get older, the aches and pains increase. Life gets more difficult. But there is another aspect of aging: the emotional fall out of hindsight. In other words, you look back on your younger years and realize just how foolish you were. You begin to realize how many dumb things you did; how many foolish pursuits you went after; how you wasted opportunities. There may even be regrets.

The book of Ecclesiastes is essentially Solomon’s reflections on these very things. The Bible implies that Solomon the wisest man to have ever lived (I Kings 12). Yet in his later years, he comes to realize that he squandered the wisdom God gave him. He engaged in ungodly pursuits despite having the wisdom to know the end result would not be good. His pondering led him to an uncomfortable conclusion: a life lived separate from God is empty and meaningless.

Revelation 4:11 tells us that God was pleased to create us. But it also tells us that our purpose for existing is to please him. Guess what? There is meaning in doing so. There is fulfillment, joy, happiness, etc. in living a life pleasing to God. And in return for doing so, God is happy to bestow blessings. He is thrilled to offer that more abundant life that the human soul naturally longs for.