“What is the profit to a man in all his labor which he labors under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:3 (MKJV)
Is life profitable? Well, if I were to inquiry of the apostle Paul, I may get this sorta response, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Alrighty Then, go on… “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Mind if I focus in on a word? Cool…so there in verse 20 of Romans 8, in the King James, I see the word vanity instead of the word futility. Hmmm…been at this vanity stuff before, Ecclesiastes1:2, I believe, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity”, yeah there it is. Seems like a connection there, stretch this out a bit, to quote Berean Call’s own, John Ritenbaugh…
“While it makes for an arresting opening, vanity is not useless to God’s purpose. We have to grow to understand that, as things stand in His purpose, vanity plays a vital role…Without a doubt, life is difficult, and the vanity that Paul mentions plays its part in the difficulty. It seems apparent from Genesis 3:14-19, where God enumerates the curses following Adam and Eve’s sin, that He not only pronounced man’s subjection to a measure of vanity but activated it at that time.”
WHAT!? God did this deliberately? Short answer, yes. Long answer, we gotta understand that this “vanity” (or futility) has been set as a reminder that sin is a source of everyday difficulty as well as an obstacle that needs to be overcome so that the purpose of growing in His image can occur. We just gotta deal with that being truth. Solomon may not mention it but Paul will consider the sufferings that this world provides and concluded that ain’t nothing compared to what lies ahead if we overcome our vanity.
Is life profitable? Well, on the surface, it may look like we are all going around in circles getting nowhere really fast. So, what’s to gain from that? There ain’t no doubt that life seems to require us to spend a great deal of time, energy and stressful uncertainty that the only answer to the question seems to be that each of us is truly insignificant against the bigger landscape or in laymen’s terms…nothing. Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity!! Or is it?
“And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all which is done under the heavens. It is a sad task God has given to the sons of men to be humbled by it.” Ecclesiastes 1:13
When you cruise through the first 12 verses of Ecclesiastes 1 you really don’t find much in the way of hope, the first mention of God happens in verse 13 but at least by now we have a pursuit to take on. Wisdom and knowledge have been a pursuit of many-a-men but rarely does the worldly guy find it because this kinda pursuit can lead to many disappointments. There are some parts of all this wisdom and knowledge that, in their very nature are painful and distressing. After all, by the time you hit verse 15 of Ecclesiastes 1 “What is crooked cannot be made straight.” C’est La Vie.
I guess we could conclude that wisdom and knowledge will not solve every problem in life. Even in prayer, we gotta understand that God isn’t obligated to explain our problems to us. It was the Creation that chose to accept the deceitful offer made by our adversary that if we eat the fruit, our eyes would be opened and we would be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil. Well, we do know now and it doesn’t seem to make our vanity in living any better, as a matter of fact, it could make it worse…apart from Christ.
Is life profitable? Granted, life may seem monotonous and meaningless, but for those of us called by God, it shouldn’t be. For those of us in Christ Jesus, life should be a tremendous blessing, it’s the mortification of pride that gets experienced, and in all that stuff we find out we must live in faith. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor 1:25) That’s just truth, Jesus breaks into our lives, grants us mercy, provides for us grace so that we head straight for the Kingdom of God. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail at email@example.com.
Think About This: “Truth is just truth—it never has to worry about its image. Truth never worries about the effect it will have, about who is going to hate it or who is going to accept it or what there is to lose and what there is to gain.” – A.W. Tozer