Academics are important to me. Good grades, knowledge, degrees. They always have been and I’m sure they will continue to be as I move on to college and (maybe) grad school. I want my education to lead to a good job and success after graduation. I love knowing things, whether they be random facts or how to solve complex problems or the stories of heroes in history. Just having that knowledge always at my fingertips makes me feel good.
What makes you feel good? What seems to give you satisfaction in your life? Maybe it’s friends, work, money, parenting, relationships, or something else entirely. We all enjoy good things.
But Ecclesiastes calls all these things vanity. That paper for history I spent a solid month on? Vanity. All the time you spend with your friends? Useless. Saving enough for retirement? Without meaning.
Solomon, of all people, knew the good things of the world. He had great wisdom and knowledge. He had hundreds of wives/concubines. He was king of a magnificent country with other rulers coming to visit his beautiful land. Solomon knew the world. He eventually wandered into it, forsaking God and giving himself over to the empire of wealth, beauty, and pleasure he had around him.
Ecclesiastes is after all that. Solomon is supposed to have returned to God in his old age and written Ecclesiastes as a book of what he learned, especially in his folly. And what did he learn?
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 1:2
The things of this world aren’t worth it. They may provide comfort and pleasure, but it is only a temporal happiness. Compared to the glorious riches we are to inherit with Christ in eternity, they do not satisfy. They never will.
Praise God, then, that He satisfies us, comforts us, brings us joy. Praise God that He knows what’s best for us and we can trust and follow him. Even if it means giving up all the vanities.