Ecclesiastes 1:2,3: the Meaning of Vanity

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? (Eccl. 1:2,3).

The man who labors for his own profit has missed the mark of life's true meaning. He lives a life that is equal to that of a steam (Hb. "Hebel", vapor, vanity).

Vanity is nothing but man's attempt to pull himself up by pulling his bootstraps. Vanity means emptiness, ephemerality, transcience, and a useless striving which the Preacher rightly labels as "chasing after the wind". Only in self-giving love is true worth and meaning found, for worth and meaning lie outside of the self, in self-less sacrifice. Therefore, Jesus said, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." (Mat. 10:39). Only when a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, does it realize its true worth.


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