JULY 27, 2014
L. John Bost
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, wrote that, “All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He was talking about the vanity of trying to achieve happiness and fulfillment by obtaining wisdom, knowledge, fame, and riches. He says, for example, in Ecclesiastes 1:3, “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”
Solomon writes of the:
Vanity of Wisdom – Ecclesiastes:12-18
Vanity of Pleasure – Ecclesiastes 2:1-3
Vanity of Great Accomplishments – Ecclesiastes 2:4-17
Vanity of Hard Labor – Ecclesiastes 2:18-23*.
Does that mean that those things are useless or wrong? No! The wise man concludes in Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (NKJV), “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God.” In other words, be content with the blessings that God bestows upon you. It is vanity to place too high a priority on obtaining great wisdom, pleasure, and worldly success. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 7:12, “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.” Wisdom is good. In fact the same writer writes in Proverbs 4:7, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Wisdom is greater than riches. Solomon writes in Proverbs 16:16, “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”
Knowledge is important. Solomon writes in Proverbs 1:5, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” It is wise to go to school, give attention to your studies, and gain knowledge! It is also wise to respect, and listen to the wise counsel of your parents and other adults. Solomon writes in Proverbs 1:8, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”
Wisdom, knowledge, pleasure, possessions, and money are good. But it is vanity to put a high priority on obtaining these things. It might be put this way: Obtain wisdom, knowledge, pleasure and possessions wisely!
But the most important thing is found in Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NKJV): “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.'” What is the wise man saying? The time to give your life to God is now. God is your Creator (Genesis 1-2). As such, he deserves your allegiance. Now is the time to begin your life of obedience to Him. Do not wait until you are older, have sown your “wild oats,” are out of school, etc. There will be no time when it is easier than right now. It will only get harder as time goes along. You will become more and more burdened with the pursuit of wisdom, knowledge, pleasure, and riches. Before long, you will be saying, “I have no pleasure in matters concerning God.”
Solomon writes, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth…” Paul writes, “For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NKJV). Young person, will you not begin your life of service now? May we help you? Let us hear from you. Contact us
*Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers