Eccl. 2:9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Eccl. 2:12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their head,
but fools walk in darkness.
Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15 Then I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?” And I said to myself that this also is vanity.
What was it that the Teacher had learned about wisdom and folly? He had seen that folly had led the wealthy to obtain all that their eyes could see. As all of these “things” were considered; every toy that a heart could want was entertained and yet there was never a deep sense of satisfaction. It was like chasing after the wind.
Wisdom provided a way for life that was much better than pleasure. Having wisdom was like walking in the brightness of daylight while fools stumble around in the darkness.
No matter what path we have chosen for life there will come a time when we face the end of it all. If we have been too proud about the things we have obtained, or the wisdom we have, we will discover that it is all vanity.
At the end of it all we begin to evaluate how we have lived our lives. All the “stuff” that we have to maintain eventually becomes tiring. It takes more work to manage it all than it’s worth. Many of my friends are speaking of “downsizing” these days. As we look over all that we have accumulated through life I’m sure we have moments where we wonder why we have what we do!
Wisdom is different than stuff. We don’t have to clear it out of our homes for it goes with us to the very end. Investing in wisdom has the potential of a greater return, but only if it is lived in submission to the Lord. Seeking education or wisdom simply because one wants to be greater than others will also lead to vanity. We are not to take pride in the wisdom which we receive from God but it is to be used in humble service to the kingdom.
In those moments of introspection may we consider what it is that receives so much of our time, money and attention. Is it worth it? At the end of it all we may discover that it has been folly. What we are called to is a life of faith, with everything done in submission to the Lord. Seek first the kingdom of God! When that is the case then the end will come, as it does for all, but it will not be seen as vanity — but as reflection of the King.
LORD, please keep me from an distractions that would not lead to you. Amen.
If you would like to read more "Reflecting the Image" click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.