Tag Archive | vanity

MEANINGFUL LIFE UNDER THE HEAVENS (guest post)

Centuries ago, a wise teacher conveyed his reflection on the meaning of life.  In his writings classified as wisdom literature, the Teacher said, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 NIV)  Yes, the time for birth is the beginning of a human being under the sky. But this isn’t an endless journey.  There is a time limit that no one can reject, namely the time to die.  Among these two phases, humans live a life full of color and dynamics.  Humans work, study, have fun, work, enjoy happiness, partying, prosperity, success, but in it there is also pain, loneliness, pain, poverty, destruction, and experiencing injustice.  All can come at any time, to anyone, whether they deserve it or not.  About all of that, the Teacher who was rich, powerful, and had the potential and opportunity to enjoy everything available in the world, gave his skeptical views: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.  “Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1: 2 NIV)  Then, about the various things that humans do throughout their lives under heavens, the Teacher concluded pessimistically that all these things are “chasing after the wind.”  What does that mean?

 

HEBEL, HEBEL, HEBEL

Hebel, a Hebrew word which in some copies translates as vanity, meaningless, futility, is a word that is repeated 37-38 times in Ecclesiastes.  Hebel, a word that means “through the breath, a breeze, a smoke, water vapor” is a very appropriate word to describe how short human life is.  Whether living for 30, 50, 60, 70, 90, or 100 years, all is like a single breath compared to limitless time, namely eternity, where every human being will go.

Hebel is the same word that is also used in Psalm 39: 4-6.  “Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am.  Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.  Selah.  Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they [b]busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches,  And does not know who will gather them.” (NKJV)

As with the Teacher, the Psalmist also viewed human life as “hebel”.  Very short, as a flash of shadow passed.  Contemplate … how briefly it can be finally be truly in vain if man only seeks satisfaction and the meaning of his life from what is transitory and temporary!  Then, what is the benefit of grandeur and pride under heaven, if in the end all things that are painstakingly pursued and maintained must be abandoned, and not contribute anything to eternity.  Up to this point, it is perfectly appropriate for the Teacher to describe it as vanity and chasing after the wind.  Then, how should humans go through life so that they aren’t trapped in a vortex of futility and a chasing after the wind?

 

CHRIST BE THE CENTER OF LIFE

The teacher doesn’t mean to say that human life is meaningless and useless, but that is what will happen if humans live their lives in their own way and do good things according to their own thoughts, without really seeking God.  Therefore, let’s return to the Teacher’s statement about the time for humans under heaven: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die.”  This statement shows that God has full power and sovereignty over everything, including determining the time of birth and death of everyone, without humans being able to choose for themselves.  However, between birth and death there is a period of time in which humans live their lives and in this life humans are given free will to determine their own choices, including those relating to relationships with God.

Praise God the Father, if at one moment we have made the decision to receive salvation in Jesus Christ.  It is grace that has transformed our status into a child of God and made a significant difference to our entire life.  When we accept Jesus Christ, at that time there is also a displacement of purpose in eternity, namely from death to life, from curse to blessing, from vanity to the divine vocation.  Faith in Christ is a step that immediately puts us on the path of grace which provides unlimited power and opens opportunities for us to do noble things that are eternal, according to God’s time and determination.

The power has been given by God, His help is available, but how the outcome depends on how we live our lives, whether we really make Christ the center of our lives or not.  Making Christ the center of our lives means making Christ the only foundation, source, goal and motivation, which controls all our thoughts, actions and attitudes in all aspects of life.  The sincerity of making Christ the center of our lives will be reflected in every choice of our response to everything that God has permitted to happen throughout our lives.  Whether we obey the desires of the flesh or the will of the Holy Spirit, obey our feelings or obey to do the word of God, continue to believe or be disappointed with God, and remain faithful to the end or leave God.  In the end, the choice for choice will determine the life we ​​live in, in vain or produce fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven.  Later, we must give accountability before God.

 

ENJOY LIFE IN THE FEAR OF GOD

” Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 NIV)

Actually, this whole life journey is a preparation for an inevitable responsibility, which must be faced by each person, personally.  Later, there is no reason and defense for every sin and mistake, because God has given us a lifetime opportunity to repent, be changed and shaped by God.  Therefore we must truly live right before God, because all of our responses to God when we are still alive today greatly determine how and where we will be in eternity.  God has bestowed salvation, given the Holy Spirit as Helper and Comforter, and has given the word that becomes the guide and contains the promises we need.  We just have to always live in fear of God.  Not fear of His judgment, but fear of God because we love and respect God.  So, we will be able to see and respond to this life properly so that we can receive and enjoy what God has provided in our lives with satisfaction and gratitude.  Thus, our focus isn’t on the pleasures of this world, but on God who gives everything.  As the Teacher’s advice: “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5: 18-19 NIV) 

Life isn’t easy, maybe we have done wrong and failed many times, but as long as we wholeheartedly want to surrender ourselves to God, then God will help us rise again and again.  His love always forgives and His power certainly strengthens and enables us to live according to His purpose and plan, so that our lives and labors aren’t in vain.  Then later … when we stand face to face with God to account for our every act, we will look at the face of Jesus Christ without feeling accused, but with relief and gratitude because God has made our lives meaningful.  Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images ( pixabay.com ) edited with pixlr apps

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Keep Our Heart

 so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 1:29-31)

Yesterday I was meeting with other company that wants to cooperate with our company.  CEO of it company comes with some of the directors. As a first step, they give a presentation about the background of their company. I was accompanied by all of directors and my secretary.  Confidently the CEO began his presentation. He recounted in detail the background of the company also shows us their achievements.

During the presentation, there was a thing that slightly bothers my mind.  What is that? From the beginning of the presentation he always said “I” He not says “We” And the longer it he increasingly tried to show how good he is as a corporate leader. He tried to convince us that he is able to work together very well in this project. He Said: “With my experience and capabilities, I am very convinced that I can provide advantages in both sides. Advantages to your company and of course to mine”

Then one of our directors asks him a question: “What about the marketing strategy?” he chuckled and it seems he underestimated that question.  He replied with a haughty tone:” Please don’t think about it. I already have a great marketing strategy of this project! And I will show it if there was cooperate agreement!”

My dear friends, right now I am not going to discuss about the leadership. But I am going to discuss about vanity!  I think you and I agree that the CEO was not only having very high self-confidence but unwittingly he has shown his arrogance. It was reflected in his words. He always told “I”, “I” and so on. My daddy teaches me one valuable thing in leadership. “Don’t ever say “I “but always say “We” Don’t ever say ‘my company “But say “Our company “.  You cannot work alone.  Success of a company is not only because you are led it. But you have a great team who help you to achieve our goals. Treat them as a family. Change the Vanity with the humility.

What my father said was true. But, The Most important thing that should we remember is, all the capabilities that we have, it all comes from God. It is the grace from Him and I am surely believed that God will take it all from us if we cannot use it well. Bragging is not a deed pleasing to God. This act illustrates that we are stealing the glory of God for the sake of self pride. Arrogance is the result of our hearts that are not maintained properly.  Jesus said: For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”(Mark 7:21-23).

CEO’s story also illustrates that successfully become a leader will bring arrogance if we forget that all of it is a blessing and grace from God. If we did have to show our success, do not overwhelming to show it, and do not get stuck in the sin of pride. We must also continue to keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of the heart was the springs of life. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverb 4:23)

God is not pleased with those who have Vanity! “When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’  Then he will save the downcast.” (Job22:29)

So, what about us? Whether we still living in Vanity? We proud of what we do and we could not keep our hearts so that we fall into the sin of pride? We should remember and ponder one thing; The Holy Bible clearly said that God’s judgments will come for those people who living in vanity. “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:” (Isaiah 2:12)

Let us keep our hearts in order not to fall into the sin of pride and always remember that it all comes from God. It is the grace from God. Amen!

Karina

Helpless Love

Once upon a time all feelings and emotions went to a coastal island for a vacation. According to their nature, each was having a good time. Suddenly, a warning of an impending storm was announced and everyone was advised to evacuate the island.

The announcement caused sudden panic. All rushed to their boats. Even damaged boats were quickly repaired and commissioned for duty.

Yet, Love did not wish to flee quickly. There was so much to do. But as the clouds darkened, Love realised it was time to leave. Alas, there were no boats to spare. Love looked around with hope.

Just then Prosperity passed by in a luxurious boat. Love shouted, “Prosperity, could you please take me in your boat?”

“No,” replied Prosperity, “my boat is full of precious possessions, gold and silver. There is no place for you.”

A little later Vanity came by in a beautiful boat. Again Love shouted, “Could you help me, Vanity? I am stranded and need a lift. Please take me with you.”

Vanity responded haughtily, “No, I cannot take you with me. My boat will get soiled with your muddy feet.”

Sorrow passed by after some time. Again, Love asked for help. But it was to no avail. “No, I cannot take you with me. I am so sad. I want to be by myself.”

When Happiness passed by a few minutes later, Love again called for help. But Happiness was so happy that it did not look around, hardly concerned about anyone.

Love was growing restless and dejected. Just then somebody called out, “Come Love, I will take you with me.” Love did not know who was being so magnanimous, but jumped on to the boat, greatly relieved that she would reach a safe place.

On getting off the boat, Love met Knowledge. Puzzled, Love inquired, “Knowledge, do you know who so generously gave me a lift just when no one else wished to help?”

Knowledge smiled, “Oh, that was Time.”

“And why would Time stop to pick me and take me to safety?” Love wondered.

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and replied, “Because only Time knows your true greatness and what you are capable of. Only Love can bring peace and great happiness in this world.”

“The important message is that when we are prosperous, we overlook love. When we feel important, we forget love. Even in happiness and sorrow we forget love. Only with time do we realize the importance of love. Why wait that long? Why not make love a part of your life today?”

http://academictips.org