What are you building your life on? Today’s attached devotional shows
the folly of building it on anything but Christ. Please don’t rush
through the reading but take time to ask, “Am I really building my life
here and what will be the outcome?” God bless you.
Because of Calvary,
Ecclesiastes 1:5-11 (ESV)
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
6 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.
7 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.
THE VANITY OF ALL WORLDLY THINGS
“As he said vanity, so vain say I,
Oh! Vanity, O vain all under sky;
Where is the man can say, ‘Lo, I have found
On brittle earth a consolation sound’?
Where is it in honor to be set on high?
No, they like beasts and sons of men shall die,
And whilst they live, how oft doth turn their fate;
He’s now a captive that was king of late,
What is it in wealth great treasures to obtain?
No, that’s but labor, anxious care, and pain.
He heaps up riches, and he heaps up sorrow,
It’s his today, who’s his heir tomorrow?
What then? Content in pleasure canst thou find?
More vain than all, that’s but to grasp the wind.
The sensual senses for a time they please,
Meanwhile the conscience rage, who shall appease?
What is it in beauty? No that’s but a snare,
They’re foul enough today, that once were fair.
What is it in flowering youth, or manly age?
The first is prone to vice, the last to rage.
Where it is then, in wisdom, learning, arts?
Sure if on earth, if must be in these parts;
Yet these the wisest man of men did find
But vanity, vexation of mind.
And he that knows the most doth still bemoan
He knows not all that here is to be known.
What is it then? to do as stoics tell,
Nor laugh, nor weep, let thing go ill or well?
Such stoics are but stocks, such teaching vain,
While man is man, he shall have ease or pain.
If not in honor, beauty, age, nor treasure,
Nor in learning, wisdom, youth, nor pleasure,
Where shall I climb, sound, seek, search, or find
That summum bonum which may stay my mind?
There is a path no vulture’s eye hath seen
Where lion fierce, nor lion’s whelps have been,
Which leads unto that living crystal fount,
Who drinks thereof, the world doth naught account.
The depth and sea have said ‘‘tis not in me,’
With pearl and gold it shall not valued be.
For sapphire, onyx, topaz who would change;
It’s hid from eyes of men, they count it strange.
Death and destruction the fame hath heard,
But where and what it is from heaven’s declared;
It brings to honor which shall ne’er decay,
It stores with wealth which time can’t wear away.
It yieldeth pleasures far beyond conceit,
And truly beautifies without deceit.
Nor strength, nor wisdom, nor fresh youth shall fade,
Nor death shall see, but are immortal made.
This pearl of price, this tree of life, this spring,
Who is possessed of shall reign a king.
Nor change of state nor cares shall ever see,
But wear his crown to all eternity.
This satiates the soul, this stays the mind,
And all the rest, but vanity we find.”
[Anne Bradstreet in Chapters into Verse I assembled and edited by Robert Atwan and Laurence Wieder, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 352-354]