Vanity of All Vanities
By Vivian Mutambi
Have you ever felt the pressure to be someone great in this world? Felt the need to accomplish a lot? Have all the fame and fortune? Own all the flashy cars, homes, and have all the good things that money can buy? This is what most of us, if not all of us, dream to have or become. We think that by having all these things it will bring us happiness and satisfaction. We believe that money is the key to happiness.
I also used to fall into this category of wanting the best of material possessions, but I have learned a few lessons along the way that I want to share with you. It is very unfortunate that most people strive so much to gain worldly pleasures which are nothing more than temporary. I was raised in a single parent family, it basically means I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Life was not easy and I used to envy our neighbors who I thought had it all because they were not as poor as us. I told myself I wanted to be exactly like them when I grew up. I thought that being as wealthy as them one day would make me happy. Fast forward - and years later after I graduated from college, my first job was what I was hoping would make me happy, but it didn’t. I found myself moving from job to job because of one reason or another. I was miserable and frustrated. The problem with wanting all these earthly riches, is that we will never be satisfied. The more we have, the more we want. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this is also vanity.”
I realized that I had been wrong all this time. Material things do not equal happiness. Fame and fortune does not equate to happiness. I can’t count the number of times we have had stories about celebrities and famous people in this world commit suicide, overdose with drugs, or do other unexpected things. These same people we thought were happy because they had it all; people that we looked up to and wished we could move heaven and earth just to be like. Turns out that they were miserable and lonely. These people who appear to want for nothing – are definitely lacking something.
In Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, King Solomon who is thought to be the wisest person who ever lived, emphasized the concept of vanity. He had everything he had ever wished for - plus silver and gold. In verse 14 he states, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun and behold all is vanity and striving after wind.”
This verse teaches us to redirect our focus on God, seek his kingdom first and all these other things shall be added unto us. Let us not be drowned by our vanity in our attempts to gain the whole world, and lose our souls in the process. It is sad to see many young people look for happiness in all the wrong places.
True happiness comes from God.
What does it mean for a Christian to gain the whole world and lose his soul?