VANITY
OF
VANITIES

To Whom It May Concern:

I have never been one to complain but the emptiness is just too much to bear.   I've tried to make sense of it all,
but it is beyond me.   They tell me there is good in this world, yet all I see around me is evil and misery.   I've
lived in constant fear and uncertainty.   Fear of financial problems.   Fear of violence.   Fear of waking up one day
in the mist of a natural disaster.   Fear of not waking up at all.   Apparently, I'm not the only one living in fear.
Others around me do also.   I can tell by all the scratching and clawing.   The world is too dog eat dog for any
sane person.   Maybe we're better off insane, I don't know.   I've tried to make sense of it all, but it would take
a god to figure it out and I'm told there is no such thing.   In fact, my existence is supposed to be some sort of
accident.   That means I've come from nothing as I head toward nothing, all the time living for nothing (except
fear, of course).   The few little pockets of pleasure and happiness are just that - pockets.   They don't last.   I've
tried it all!   Drinking, women and parties until daybreak, but it's no use.   They don't last.   They never satisfy.
Now I don't want to give the impression that I've been some sort of irresponsible burden on society.   In fact, I've
started a few businesses in my day - as well as lost some.   I'd never stop striving, although it turned out to be
more like dreaming, it seems as if the world always had other plans.   I made use of every piece of wisdom known
to man and not just in business but in marriage.   The result was a good marriage, while it lasted.   And the kids...
Well, Dr. Spock would be happy to know that they turned out to be very creative, rebellious and disrespectful brats.

My life has been a mindless series of ups and downs with the downs getting lower every time.   Some people call
it entropy, others have called it sin.   But what do they know?   Is this all there is to it?   Work, work and more
work and for what?   To grow old and die.   Maybe that's where its at - retirement, the golden years.   But thanks
to my terminal illness, I'll never know.   Instead I have my memories to look back on and nothing to look forward
to.   Easy come, easy go.   Here today, gone tomorrow.   And where am I going?   I don't know.   All I know
is life went by too fast with no reason but to simply exist.   Not even my legacy can make up for this sense of waste.
But, don't feel sad for me.   Your the one stuck here.   I'll probably be better off wherever I'm going ....
Or will I?

Signed,

Bewildered and Scared

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.   What profit hath a man of
all his labour which he taketh under the sun?   One generation passeth away, and another generation
cometh: but the earth abideth for ever."
  Ecclesiastes 1:2- 4

In the Book of Ecclesiastes King Solomon, the wisest and probably the richest man who ever lived, asked the
question, "What's the sense of it all?"   He was qualified to ask.

"I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of
spirit."
  Ecclesiastes 1:14

Solomon had the time and the resources to try out anything he wanted in life.   This was no mere claim on
his part.   He did whatever he wanted to do.

"And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for
my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour."
  Ecclesiastes 2:10

And after he had done it?   He looked back on it and drew the following conclusion.

"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to
do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun."

Ecclesiastes 2:11

In spite of all the custom houses he had built (Ecc. 2:4), all his business endeavors (Ecc. 2:4),
all the property he acquired (Ecc. 2:5), all the servants he had (Ecc. 2:7), all the entertainment
he wanted (Ecc. 2:8) and all the parties he held (Ecc. 2:3), his conclusion was always the
same.   ALL IS VANITY.   Solomon couldn't even find comfort in at least being able to leave it all behind
for someone else.

"(3)I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.   (4)I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: (5)I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: (7)I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: (8)I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts."   (Ecclesiastes 2:3- 5,7-8)

"Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man
that shall be after me.   And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he
have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under
the sun.   This is also vanity."
  Ecclesiastes 2:18- 19

Vanity is translated from the Hebrew word habel which means emptiness, something transitory and
unsatisfactory, something done in vain.   To many people that's what life is - unsatisfactory and empty,
something done in vain.   However, to every person life is transitory, a distance between two unknowns, a
blip in time, a vapor (James 4:14).   Solomon with his wisdom knew this.   The man whose letter you read
at the beginning of this tract figured it out also, but it was too late.   So what's the solution to a seemingly
empty and meaningless existence with no overall purpose or objective?   Solomon found the answer.

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years
draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;"
Ecclesiastes 12:1.

In essence, Solomon's advice is to make peace with your creator before it is too late.   The Creator Himself,
Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14), puts it this way:

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Mark 8:36.

Man was created by God for a purpose, part of which was to fellowship with Him.   When man rebelled, the
fellowship was broken and he was left with a spiritual emptiness which he tries to fill on his own.   Yet it's
fruitless because without the original purpose for which man was created - all is vanity!!   A renewed
fellowship with God will result in a real purpose in life as well as an eternity spent with God in Heaven.   The
only thing standing in the way is sin.   Yet God in His love has provided a solution to man's sin problem -

if he repents of his sin and places his trust in the payment that Jesus Christ has provided for his sin.   Please
read the following plan of salvation and if you have any questions concerning a renewed fellowship with God,
please feel free to attend one of our services.
Life does not have to be lived in vain!!

GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION

FIRST THE BAD NEWS:

1.   We must realize that we are lost, sinners that are spiritually dead.
* "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."   Luke 19:10
* "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
* "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."   John 3:3
* "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."   John 3:6

2.   As spiritually dead, lost sinners, God's judgment and wrath are upon us.
* "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Hebrews 9:27.
* "For which things' sake [sin] the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience [sinners]:"
Colossians 3:6.

3.   Our good works can't stop this judgment and wrath.   God demands death as payment for sin.
* "Not of works..." Ephesians 2:8,9.
* "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10.
* "the soul that sinneth, it shall die."   Ezekiel 18:4
* "For the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23.

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!

4.   God is willing to accept someone else's death in our place.   That someone is Jesus Christ.
* "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself
a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
  I Timothy 2:5-6
* "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."   Romans
5:8

5.   Jesus has bought salvation for us and now God can offer it as a gift by grace.
* "Ye are bought with a price;" I Corinthians 7:23.
* "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works,
lest any man should boast."
  Ephesians 2:8,9

How does someone accept this gift?   Through repentance and faith.

REPENTANCE: means to change your mind and adapt an attitude of not sinning against God.
FAITH: means to simply take God at His word, i.e., believe the verses you have just read.
* "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord
Jesus Christ."
  Acts 20:21
* "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."   Romans 10:13

6.   Upon being saved and born again spiritually, we become converted to a new creature in Christ.
* "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter
into the kingdom of heaven."
  Matthew 18:3
* "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things
are become new."
  II Corinthians 5:17

FARGO BAPTIST
CHURCH

3303 23rd Avenue SouthWest
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

Speaking the truth in love
Ephesians 4:15

(701) 232-5500

Pastor T. C. Scheving

Schedule of Services

Sunday School . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship . . . . . 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Evening Service . . . . . . . 6:00 p.m.
Proteens (Wednesday) . . . . . . . . 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday Bible Study . . . . . . . 7:00 p.m.

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]