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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Vanity of Vanities (Our Theme for 2023 Part 2)

Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11

“Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! What profit have we from all the toil which we toil at under the sun? One generation departs and another generation comes, but the world forever stays.” (v.2-3). Qoheleth is frustrated. He looks at emptiness, futility, absurdity. He feels a sense of powerlessness and inability to change things for the better.

We today who serve the Lord might at times feel the same way. We work hard for the Kingdom, but can things really change for the better? Looking over the past decades of ministry, we might find ourselves having to face reality.

  • Christianity is 2,000 years old and one-third of the world population is Christian, but today the world is in deeper darkness of sin and evil.

  • The Church, the body of Christ on earth, has her pastors whom we look up to as paragons of virtue, but today there are many clerics who are sexual predators, liberals and modernists, becoming the enemy within.

  • We work at the conversion of couples and we nurture them in the new life, only to see some of them separate after many years.

  • We raise and help form many persons and see many of them move on to leadership, only to see a number of them eventually give up and leave the community.

  • We nurture top leaders, only to have them turn against us and betray us.

  • We endure and suffer much to establish our communities in other countries and they thrive for a while, but some ultimately weaken, collapse and even disappear.

  • We strive to raise our children in the Lord, but some of them get lost into the world.

Qoheleth says, “All things are wearisome” (v.8a). Indeed, looking on all the things that do not go according to how we believe they should, do we become weary? Do we slow down the pace of ministry? Do we give up?

Well, we should not. Given the negatives and the disappointments, we should not lose our focus, and that is Christ and his work. We live in an imperfect world but God Himself is perfect. Christians all around us fail us, but Jesus never does. And so we must stand firm in the faith. In the letter to the Hebrews, faith is defined as the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Our hope is in Christ and not in man or in the world. And in Christ we have a future full of hope. And though we have seen many negative things in this life, there are also lots that remain to be seen, including eternal life in heaven. So we must remain firm in faith.

Then there is the reality that God is love. God sent His Son Jesus out of love. Jesus sends us forth to proclaim the good news of salvation out of love. We are to love God and neighbor, even our enemies. And so it is love that motivates us and keeps us going. It is not the results of our labors, as the fruit is up to God. So we do not give up. We have been loved by God, and we serve out of love for others. Our every act should be done with love. So we remain founded on love.

Qoheleth says, “There is no remembrance of past generations; nor will future generations be remembered by those who come after them.” (v.11). No matter. We live and serve not to be remembered or extolled by others. We look only to the acceptance of God. For this, we must be firm in faith, founded on love.

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