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Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 3:52 AM

At the end of the day … God!


Dr. Ron Braley Guest Columnist

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Dr.

Ron Braley. This is not the opinion of the Taylor Press.

Tenth-century King Solomon can teach us much about meaningful — or useless — life pursuits. Read his letter, biblical Ecclesiastes, and you’ll learn that, despite great riches, wealth, power and women, he realized that only God truly satisfies. Let’s begin at the beginning.

The beginning

God gave Solomon wisdom and great wealth (1 Kings 3:513). He amassed incredible treasure and many women, 300 concubines and 700 wives. And his extraordinary wisdom brought exceptional fame. But Solomon found that pursuits of fame, fortune and pleasure were pointless and vain — like spitting in the wind.

Vanity and uselessness

Solomon wrote that much of what he chased was vanity, which, in context, means empty or unsatisfactory.

Again, pointless stuff. Things that bring little advantage and die with the generations, yet aren’t new, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Again, all vanity, according to Solomon, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14).” Let’s visit some of the vain, meaningless things.

Vain stuff

Topping Solomon’s list of vain pursuits is chasing madness and folly. Lusting after laughter and pleasure, including wine, is up there as silly and wasteful things. And building projects didn’t bring satisfaction but grief. Solomon, “So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.”

No matter what we do or acquire, we’ll leave this earth with nothing.

Where everything ends up

From dust we were formed, to dust we’ll return. The fate is the same for all mammals, including humans (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20). And the spirit within the body will return to its Maker. We’ll take nothing with us, and all we leave behind will eventually rot or be forgotten. So, what’s Solomon’s advice for good living in the meantime?

At the end of the day: God

According to Solomon, rest is better than striving after stuff in vain. And a healthy fear of God is a good thing, “Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly (Ecclesiastes 8:12).”

Don’t love or hoard money— share. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and what God has given, including the marriage relationship. Whatever you do, do it with all your might.

Solomon’s conclusion, “Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment.

(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

In summary, the wisest man suggested fearing God and keeping His commandments for a fruitful, meaningful life.

My next article will explore God’s Kingdom versus culture and differentiate between descriptive and prescriptive biblical texts. Until then, don’t be vain: chase only Godly stuff! Don’t know what that means? Ask me! Questions or comments? Email news@taylorpress.


Blessings and peace, Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.


Taylor Press