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 (KJV)
Within a short space of time this morning, I was subjected to a infomercial about how to have the “best booty ever” by purchasing the Brazil Butt Lift ® workout; and then some program where some stooge is risking his job and family’s finances to flip some useless property for a quick buck. Each program was themed about some “improvement” in one’s life: the first was making a woman’s sagging behind look sexy again; the second was turning an “ugly duckling” house into a desirable “swan” property. Both of these take some kind of labor as the first is through an exercise regimen that will tighten up one’s backside; and the second is through sweat equity and knowing the right professionals to “flip” a house.
In light of the scripture above, you would look at programs like those mentioned above and ask yourself, “what’s the real payoff”? Yes, one could wind up with a sexy backside and/or could make a killing with a flipped property. In the final analysis, however, what will it really be worth? Will these bring you peace of mind? Will they make life more enjoyable? Will these take you higher spiritually? Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for a sensible fitness regimen and wisely-made investments. However, what’s the real payoff. Sometimes, you’ll never wind up with that “Brazil Butt” (maybe a “Back-Alley” variety) and will be disappointed. That property flip will wind up costing you more than what you hoped to reap-in money, time, and even personal relationships.
It’s not just butts and properties, but other things we pursue in our lives hoping for some magic “payoff” that will make our lives “better.” Things such as: relationships; careers; religious disciplines; material goods that promise a sense of fulfillment…the list goes on and on. But what do we really profit? We profit nothing. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes advised ages ago, it’s vanity, a waste of time. I, as well as others, have struggled to attain some goal that I thought would be a boon to my life only to be disappointed in the end. We never find true fulfillment. A hard but true lesson learned.
In the end, the best we can do is what was advised further in Ecclesiastes 2, verse 24:
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
To me, this verse says the best is to enjoy the life we have. We need to stop pursuing some external “prize” we think will make our lives better. Such a pursuit is ultimately a waste of time, and that precious God-given resource we have called life. Instead of trying to achieve that Brazilian Butt, learn to develop a sexy mindset and inner beauty that God planted inside you, and love the skin you’re in. Instead of trying to “flip” houses, learn to “flip” you inner house and develop your inner growth to become the person God desired you to be. Let’s work on the internals, and let the externals take care of themselves. Even if the externals don’t turn out the way we would like them to, we’d still be joyful in our lives while we have them.
For the rest, as Ecclesiastes said, is vanity.