By Rev. John Chapman for HDN
Ecclesiastes 1:1-4, "The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever."
As I lay a friend and church member in the grave, I find the opportunity to reflect again on what is really important and what is mere trivia in living this life. It is so easy to be conformed to a mentality of a daily ritual in work, play, family and self that we lose sight of what is really important. This was my 51st funeral and I have yet to hear or read a eulogy that proclaimed the annual earnings of the deceased. There has never been mentioned a retirement portfolio or the value of their stocks at any of these services. The lasting comment of value shared by friends and family members was how the deceased loved them. A legacy of caring, sharing time, teaching values or comforting others has always been more important than monetary worth or time spent in the office.
The Teacher in this passage tells us the truth concerning the outcome of our labors as "vanity." If you ask the majority of those who had to say goodbye to a parent in death, "What did you cherish most from your parent?" I doubt you would hear an inheritance of money as the most important treasure. By my experience they miss the fellowship, the companionship, the presence and the love that was experienced before.
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:19ff: "Don't store treasures for yourselves here on earth where moths and rust will destroy them and thieves can break in and steal them. But store your treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is." (NCV)
What treasure will you leave your family?
Let's not take the impact of our lives for granted, nor sell out the legacy that we can pass on to our children for a "raise in pay" or a better portfolio. Keep value in the most important treasure that you can share with your family yourself. Let your life amount to something more than vanity.