“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?”
The Preacher has an important truth to share. What good was his wealth, his throne, and even his wisdom? Long after he was dead the sun would still rise and set, the wind would still blow, and the rivers still run to the sea. All his labor invested in a thousand endeavors would not change that. It was all in vain.
He tried everything “under the sun” and his opinion concerning the vanity of life remained unchanged—until he discovered that there is in every person God-shaped emptiness that is vain to try and fill with anything but God. With that discovery, he learned how to reckon profit and invest in things that endured.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the works of all who stand before Him will be tried by the fire of the Holy Spirit. Some things will endure while others are destroyed. Jesus (the Judge at this trial) once posed this question to His hearers.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Rather than allow people to guess, He supplied the answer.
“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life…”
That’s not very specific, is it? He once claimed doing the will of God was meat. But honestly, that’s still not specific. The Holy Spirit that Jesus left to guide people into the truth offers this word on the subject. In the fifth chapter of the Book of Galatians, there is a list of actions/attitudes that ends with this thought: “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”.
It is followed by this word: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance: against such there is no law”.
One more word about the judgment of Christ. Innocence and guilt go beyond words, and beyond actions (no matter which speaks louder) down to the thoughts and the intent of the heart. It is not enough to do right. The thought behind the action must be equally pure.
Enduring riches cannot be labored for and can’t be earned. They can only be given away.