Ecclesiastes 2:11 “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”
I see what others have; talent, beauty, charisma, money, fame, influence, and I desire what they have. God tells me that I should not look at the things of others and lust after them.
Exodus 20:17 “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
This is one of the ten commandments given to Moses. It is not only an Old Testament law, but it is also in the New Testament as well.
Matthew 5:27-28 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Luke 12:15 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
God gave Solomon wisdom more in abundance than He gave to any other. As Solomon began to explore where that wisdom would take him, he began to form thoughts. Those thoughts turned to action, action to experience, and experience into truth.
What he found when he followed his desires is chronicled throughout the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. To know that Solomon sought wealth and found no solace in it should be a lesson to us. Yet, there are saved folk who will play the lottery and gamble money God gave with which to be good stewards.
Everything aforementioned above talent, beauty, charisma, money, fame, power, and influence; all are vanity. Vanity is not a word we use today in this context.
Vanity defined is emptiness, a fruitless endeavor or desire, or empty pleasure.
Solomon sought this out.
Ecclesiastes 1:13 “And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.”
He begins the Book of Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”
And ends with:
Ecclesiastes 12:8 “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.”
So, if the wisest man that ever lived sought out all the things we seek and found them to be nothing but emptiness and fruitless, why is it that we continue after them?
The very definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over expecting different results – tells me that to go after what has already been proven to be nothing will yield the same results that Solomon received.
Are we that proud? Or are we that foolish or simple to think we can be different?
If I may, can we step back and look at the root of this kind of desire?
Typically, it is a need that precipitates the desire. Comfort, ease, luxury, and pleasure are all things we would like to feel, but it may be born out of the desire not to have to go through difficulty or trials.
Most do not like confrontation. Some thrive on it.
Paul, the great apostle, found himself in a situation where he desired to do more for God. He looked at his life and saw that there were hindrances. He brought those hindrances before God and asked that they be removed.
Those very hindrances, which Paul called infirmities, were God-ordained for Paul to experience a characteristic of God he would otherwise never had come in contact. For us to understand God, it may take venturing out into unchartered territory. Uncomfortable places. Scary situations.
Paul shares with us what he learned.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
We can look at the end of Solomon’s life and find what wisdom gained him. All the luxury, opulence, riches, fame, and power could never replace what he lost when his thousands of wives turned his heart against the God that gave him the wisdom.
Paul’s wisdom was practical.
He was allowed by God to share with us his struggles of the Christian life.
The end of his life, in martyrdom, shows a desire to give all unto death to that which he saw was worthy of his all.
Let us shake off this mediocrity today and live victoriously through Jesus Christ!