22 Sep 2016
We heard one of the most famous lines in Scripture today: “Vanity of vanities; all things are vanity!” And what that means is that nothing lasts. You know, if I gave you an ice cream cone, or maybe a candy bar, how long do you think it would last? Maybe five minutes? You’d eat it up and then it would be gone. And that’s like most things in life: they don’t last forever.
And that’s why the writer, Qoheleth, says, “Vanity of vanities; all things are vanity!” Nothing lasts, so why bother? Why should we try to be nice to other people? Why should we exercise and eat right? Why should we come to church and pray? Why should we even go to school? If nothing lasts, then why bother? Why put in the effort?
Well, the reason is that the writer, Qoheleth, isn’t entirely right. He says that “all things are vanity;” all things come to an end. But that’s not quite right. Some things do last—and they last forever.
Now, remember that ice cream cone or the candy bar that I gave you? Well, that’s only going to last a few minutes. But think about the joy and the excitement you feel when I give it to you. Now, that’s going to last; and the memory of that will last. And what about friendships? You know, friends often times come and go. But it’s that feeling of acceptance and belonging and even fun that you have with friends that will last forever.
What about your school work? Homework doesn’t last forever—thank goodness! But knowledge and wisdom do. And so, it’s worth it to study and learn. Whoever said that “all things are vanity” wasn’t exactly right. Not everything comes to an end. And what we discover is that everything that lasts forever . . . is really a part of God.
After all, God is: love, friendship, acceptance; God is: wisdom and knowledge, creativity and wonder. God is: smiles and laughter, tears and hugs; God is truth and beauty, and goodness. God is all those things, and a lot more. And all those things last forever, especially in our hearts.
And so, it’s never a waste of our time to try to be like our God. It’s never a waste of time to be a good friend, or to do what we’re good at. It’s never a waste of time to enjoy life. Because life is all about enjoying those things which last forever—at it starts here at the altar, with the love and friendship of God, which last . . . forever.