"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?" Aren't Solomon's words sometimes our own sighs during early morning commutes when it's still dark outside and the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet?
It is then, as Christians, we must remember Paul's encouragement that is far stronger than a cuppa caffeine, for it feeds the soul - "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain."
Good thing, there is a 'therefore' at the start of that verse, lest it seem like a trite command to grin and bear it. Thankfully, what precedes this command are words of hope - a bright reality that enables us to obey the command to endure and abound always. "For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
So, is life vain or is it not? Well, the answer to that age-old question entirely depends on whether or not we know the One who breathed life into our lungs with our first birth, and who can make alive our souls forever with the great, second birth.
I have been having this reoccurring epiphany over the past few months, that - it is the reality of the Gospel - being chosen, loved, forgiven and transformed by our merciful and mighty God - that redeems the raw realities of life on earth. It is the intentional correlation between our thrilling theology and our work ethic. It is realizing Whose we are that gives worth to who we are, meaning to what we do, significance to where we are and purpose to who we are with. It is understanding that only who we are in Christ determines the importance of what we'll do and the influence we'll have. It is tasting the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ, the life of the Spirit, having an Abba in heaven, that is our joy in every place. And so, depending on the depth and delight of our relationship with Him, our day-to-day duties can either be a blessing or a bore.
In passing from death to life in Christ, we have also gone from vanity to victory, from futility to fruitfulness. Let us, therefore, go on brightening the corner where we are. Onward in joy, Christians - God is with us; God is good.