Finding Purpose Amidst the Vanity of Life

Man in Field

As we deal with the regular trials and pressures of this life, it is not uncommon to have periods in which we are down and might struggle to see the value in our normal pursuits. The wise man articulated these feelings in the book of Ecclesiastes. He opened with these words: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He then went on to mention several regular pursuits of this life that he considered vain:
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“No Lack of Gain”

[This article was written by Bryan Dockens.]

The virtuous wife” brings her husband “no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:10-11).

While maintaining a reasonable effort to keep her husband attracted (Proverbs 5:19; Song of Songs 7:1-9), the woman of valor acknowledges the fleeting nature of outward glamour (Proverbs 31:30). Instead, she chooses to emphasize inward beauty (1st Peter 3:3-4; 1st Timothy 2:9-10) and is therefore not one to waste the family’s hard-earned income on expensive clothing, fashion accessories, or cosmetics for herself. Similarly, gym memberships and exercise equipment are not considered priority expenses (1st Timothy 4:8).
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Wasting the Teenage Years

The teenage years are an important time in one’s life. Therefore, we ought to think seriously about how these years are spent. How are parents to teach and encourage their teenage children? What should children be pursuing in their teenage years?

I read a post from Jason Hardin that got me thinking along these lines. It contained excerpts from the book, Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. I haven’t read the book, so I’m not qualified to endorse it. But the quotes that Jason shared from it were very good. The basic theme is that we, as a culture, have allowed the teenage years to evolve into a wasted time of short-sighted irresponsibility.

The way many in the world view these years is that it is a time to focus on social interactions, unrestrained fun, freedom from responsibility, and schooling – not for the purpose of life preparation, but simply for the sake of education, even if it is without direction and usefulness.
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Leaving an Inheritance to One’s Grandchildren

Grandparent

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22).

In this passage, the Proverb writer indicated that one of the marks of a good man is that he leaves an inheritance for his grandchildren.

Of course, when we study the Proverbs, it is important to remember that many of the statements are generalizations. One may be a good man and have no grandchildren to whom he can leave an inheritance. There may be financial circumstances in one’s life beyond his control that would prevent him from doing this. But in considering this passage, we should ask the question: What would it take for one to be able to leave an inheritance to his grandchildren?
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How Preachers Make a Living

Man with sons

One of the fundamental responsibilities that a man has is to “provide for his own,” or else “he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Those who preach the gospel are certainly not exempt from this responsibility. But how is a preacher to make a living?

Paul explained to the brethren in Corinth that God has a plan for preachers to earn an income: “So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). This is God’s design – a man devotes his life to proclaiming the gospel and he receives support for his labor. But how does he receive this support? In the New Testament we read of three different ways in which a man can receive support for his work of preaching.
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The Perils of a Strong National Government

Capitol Building

The President just signed health care reform legislation that will greatly expand the power of the federal government. In this article, I do not intend to praise or condemn this new set of laws and regulations. This is not a political article at all. Instead, I want to use the Bible to address the potential impact of a powerful, centralized government on our lives as Christians.

The word of God contains warnings of the dangers that are presented by a strong national government. It also contains teachings that will help us deal with this. Currently in our country, an expanding government is a reality. Let us turn to God’s word for wisdom and instruction in dealing with this present condition.
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Give Us More

More

Our society has produced a large number of people who expect others to provide for them. While there are certainly some with legitimate needs, many abuse the kindness of others and demand help rather than helping themselves. Young people grow up, yet continue to live at home and be supported by their parents because they do not want to move out and support themselves. Families remain on welfare from one generation to another because it is easier to receive a modest living for free than to work hard for a decent living. Americans, in general, have grown dependent upon the government for education, retirement, and health care. This mentality is everywhere in our society. But is this what God expects from His people?
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