“All is vanity…I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 1
All is vanity…everything we do, all of our activities, are endlessly focused on ourselves. Especially when God is not in the picture.
How can I get that promotion at work? What do I have to do for my friend or that significant other to like me/be pleased with me? How can I improve myself? How can I enjoy my life? How can I feel better about myself and my life? I intentionally choose questions here that are self-absorbed to prove my point – how often are the motivations for our actions self-seeking? Think about your average, middle class American. What drives him or her? What does he or she spend a large amount of his or her time? (Here are my answers – working, entertainment, hobbies, relationships and volunteering hopefully) What does this say about what he or she values? About who is God in his or her life?
There has to be more to life than this. As the Preacher in Ecclesiastes says, seeking wisdom is also vanity. Pleasure is vanity, as it is only a passing indulgence. Work is also vanity, as we work for material goods which are of no eternal use to us, and pass away as well. Friendships and relationships are also vanity, if they do not have a spiritual dimension to them and do not result in personal spiritual growth and growth in the kingdom of heaven.
What are we doing here? Christians are commanded to go and make disciples. Are you doing this in your life? How? How are you using your natural interests and talents (gifts of God to you) to reach out to others in the name of Christ? Do not write this off. This is serious. I believe God wants us to love life and live it to the fullest within His commands, but He also wants us to love Him more than our lives. Not all are called to die as martyrs, but all are called to a living death, a daily death to self and living to Christ.
Who are you living for? What are you doing here? What mission has God appointed for you to accomplish?