There are many things to distract us in life. In younger years we feel as if we have unlimited time ahead. Yet life is short and it slips by quickly.
We are wisest to keep in mind that human life is a temporary stay during which we determine our future destination. We are created beings answerable to our Creator and will be judged by His high and holy standards, not our own opinions.
Key issues of life, then, include placing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, to release us from our failings and make us God’s adopted children. Living in the Fear of God is also vital. We are not our own and this life is not our own. We live for God.
In my young adult years I was impacted by the verse that says we are created for God’s pleasure (thus not to live just seeking our own).
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for you created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11
Let me see if I can spin a summary of life and its relevant values, as I see it now in my seventh decade.
Most of our life will be of little consequence. Who cares what you had for breakfast a week ago? King Solomon referred to this ‘everyday’ insignificance as ‘vanity’. In fact Solomon declared that “everything is vanity and vexation of spirit”.
“I have seen all the works done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 1:14
That doesn’t sound very encouraging, does it? But I find it rather delightful. Let me explain.
The only things that will really count in your life are those things that have eternal significance (such as your choice to put your faith in Jesus Christ as your saviour, which makes you an eternal child of God with a future in Heaven) and those things that are part of God’s plan for His Kingdom.
Joshua, Rahab, Samson, Ruth, David, Mary, Paul and a host of other people recorded in the Bible had significant moments in their life when they were part of God’s overall plan. But those same people spent years of their lives doing things that were completely insignificant. We don’t care what they had for breakfast, or what their voices sounded like, or whether they ever saw snow, or how fit they were. They might have had time in their lives when they were very worried about their weight, health, popularity, zits, competitive performance, and so on, but all that comes under the heading of ‘vanity and vexation of spirit’. Who cares?
In the same way there are things I have to do in my life. There are things God wants me to do and there are ways I can do things that are not vanity and vexation of spirit, when I am doing what He wants so His Kingdom is blessed.
Then there are all the other things I get to do. And all those other things are the vanity of my life. I can get all worked up about them and vex my spirit (get agitated, argue with people, lose sleep, etc), but no matter how anxious I become there is no big deal at all. I am just wasting my energy and my time.
Many of the characters God used in Bible history, and it is true with multitudes of others as well, just went about their normal daily life of ‘vanity’ until God called them, anointed them, gave them special opportunity or whatever.
Gideon was threshing wheat when God called Him. Ruth was just caring for her mother-in-law. Elisha was ploughing a field. David was minding sheep. Mary was minding her own business.
For a while those people became the focal point of some plan God was working.
But after God’s plan was fulfilled most of what they did with the rest of their lives was in the category of ‘vanity’. That doesn’t make what they were doing wrong, but it was no big deal.
Mary lived a long time after giving birth to Jesus. She had several other children, cooked meals, cared for the family, and all that. Her key moment in history was over and her life was absorbed in the general day to day of life.
Noah lived a long time after the Flood and in those years he probably did all sorts of things, but the Bible doesn’t have much to say about those many years. They were mostly filled with ‘vanity’ and probably some ‘vexation of spirit’ as well.
For you that means that you are to get on with life, but don’t get too carried away with it. Most of what you are doing is probably in the category of vanity anyway.
However, along the way God will give you many opportunities to be used by Him, in moments that are very precious and may bring powerful results for God’s Kingdom. Be ready to flow with God’s plan as and when it touches your ordinary life.
And the rest of the time, enjoy the life God has given you, because that enjoyment is God’s gift.
“And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:13