It was a smooth ride at 33,000’ a few years ago on a trip from Atlanta, Ga to Newport News, Va. I was scanning my instruments and noticed an unusual reading, my ground speed was 551 knots and my crosswind component (a heading to keep a direct course), was pointing 20 degrees off to my left. I looked and saw the wind readout from our computers was showing the wind blowing from a direction behind us at a speed of 205 knots. In case you are wondering, that is 236 mph! I guess in a physical sense I was “striving after wind”, trying to take advantage of and use the wind for my benefit. As I reflect on that day now some 10 years later, it reminds me of what King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:2, 6. “Vanity of vanities says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. … The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.” “All is vanity and striving after the wind.”
What is “Striving After WIND” ALL about?
Although many biblical scholars may differ in their interpretations to the meaning, there does seem to have a common agreement. That is one can have everything; Wisdom, Money, Possessions, Fame, Power and Control, but it means nothing at the end of this life. Our lives are literally just a vapor, meaning now you see it and then you don’t. When King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, he had the same sort of thoughts in his mind.
12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. (Eccl 1:12-15)
But as we read further, we get a bigger picture as to perhaps what his thinking was at the time. He was looking at himself and all that he had, and he realized it was worth nothing. It wasn’t until the end that he gains understanding realizing he was putting his hope in what he had done – not what God had given him. He begins to share all he has learned so the reader can learn from his mistakes. There are several verses in the subsequent chapters that talk about the fool and how he lives his life yet in the end he is in Sheol with nothing.
As I reflected in this moment, I realized that many of us have fallen prey to putting ourselves first. It’s a struggle we must confront and deal with daily, constantly reminding ourselves of whose we are and what our purpose is. Still in the end, we face the grave and the consequences that follow. What choices will we make? Read on to see how King Solomon set an example for us to learn from!
Work vs Personal Life:
The Vanity of Self Indulgence!
I have seen countless numbers of people in my industry put an emphasis on their job and creating a “lifestyle” and income for “themselves” to enjoy. The sad result is that they are eventually left with broken families, divorce(s), stockpiles of possessions and a life of things which they learn really has no meaning. Their lives reflect an emptiness full of misery and self-contempt from poor choices. They spent their lot in life seeking only after those things that make them look good and make them happy, seeking after their own desires. When I encounter someone who lives a life of self-indulgence, I remember King Solomon’s lament: “It is vanity of vanities and striving after the wind.” A life of selfishness really is striving after wind!
Godly Life or Evil Life?:
The Vanity of living the life of a fool.
King Solomon came to realize that whether a person lived a life of a wise man or the life of the fool, the result was going to be the same.
In Eccl 2:16-17, we read, “16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
A Godly life reflects the relationship with Christ and faith in Him alone. Walking in such a way that glorifies Him in our lives. Contrast the Godly life with how we see many people today. They are living a life of debauchery, recklessness, self-indulgence, making lots of money and investing for a future that they are never guaranteed of having. (Living the life of the fool) They scoff us for trying to live a Godly life, yet the final ending will be the same for us all – and that is death.
Scripture sums up these thoughts accurately.
“10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going…”Ecclesiastes 9:10￼
So, what’s the use of living a Godly life if we all end up in the grave, one may ask??? Is it really all just vanity and striving after the wind? There is an answer – read on!
Life Now vs Life Ahead
The answer dear friends is our faith in Christ and spending eternity with Him. If we had no other future to look towards, or have a savior to care for us, then there would be no reason to live without purpose by putting our own selfish desires and goals above everyone and everything else. But as believers, we have the hope of a future in Christ, spending eternity praising Him and being in His presence! We must realize that our priority is that God – not us- has given us everything that we have! We are deserving of death and hell, and it was only because of His great love for us that we received the gift of salvation that He freely offered, and we accepted, by His grace and mercy. (Romans 10:9-13) Our purpose in life is to lead a Godly Life, being obedient to the one who saved us and to share this great gift with others. We need to realize that chasing after a fools life is striving after wind!
What will your epitaph
say about you?
We have seen over many years famous preachers, theologians, athletes, and celebrities pass on only to be remembered for a short time then forgotten. One of these days each of us will pass on from this life to eternity somewhere. What will the epitaph on our gravestone read? Will it reflect a life dedicated to Christ or will it reflect a life of selfishness and no hope?
My hope in writing this blog and specifically this post, is that others will read what I have written one day and not think about how wonderful I am or was, but that they will see Christ in my life. I pray that in the years and decades to come something I have written will make them stop and think. Perhaps even make a life decision to follow Him.