“Fear the true God and keep his commandments.”—ECCL. 12:13.
IMAGINE a man who seems to have everything. He is a renowned statesman, one of the richest men on earth, and the greatest intellectual of his generation. Despite all his accomplishments, however, in effect he still asks himself, ‘What makes life worthwhile?’
Such a man really existed—some three thousand years ago. His name was Solomon, and in the book of Ecclesiastes, we find his description of his search for satisfaction. (Eccl. 1:13) There is much we can learn from Solomon’s experience. Indeed, the wisdom found in the book of Ecclesiastes can help us to establish goals that will give true meaning to our lives.
Solomon explains that God created an abundance of beautiful things on the earth—an inexhaustible and amazing source of interest and wonderment that we never cease to enjoy. However, we can hardly even begin to explore God’s creation because our lives are too short. (Eccl. 3:11; 8:17)
As the Bible says, our days are few and they pass quickly. (Job 14:1, 2; Eccl. 6:12) This sobering fact should move us to use our lives wisely. That is no easy task, since Satan’s world may well point us in the wrong direction.
To highlight the danger of wasting our lives, Solomon uses the word “vanity” some 30 times in Ecclesiastes. The Hebrew word translated “vanity” refers to something empty, futile, meaningless, of no substance, or of no lasting value. (Eccl. 1:2, 3) Sometimes Solomon uses the word “vanity” as a parallel of “striving after wind.” (Eccl. 1:14; 2:11)
Obviously, any attempt to catch the wind is futile. Anyone trying to do so ends up grasping at nothing. Pursuing unwise goals will prove to be just as frustrating. Life in this present system is too short to waste on endeavors that leave us empty-handed.