“Vanity of vanities!” is a famous quotation from the bible, but what does it mean? It’s the preacher’s way in the Book of Ecclesiastes of saying that life seems “meaningless” or “pointless”. What’s it all about? It’s certainly not fair and it seems to take all my time and energy and keep me to the grindstone.

A radio pundit the other day said that there should be more love shown in the work place, because love makes us more productive and that way we will earn more money. Is that the point of life, money? And what’s the point of stashing money away when your children and grandchildren will only fritter it away after you’ve gone? Is it worth the hard work and the restless nights worrying about it, asks our reading today?

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our world; God made it and it’s good. But if we limit our sights only to the things of this world then we won’ see very far. We’ll get bogged down in its limitations; our lives will not reflect anything other than our career prospects, our bank balances, our reputations and our comfort. Our cultural horizons will hit the buffers at celebrity, gossip, fashion and trivia, while our significant relationships will be virtually found on Facebook and Twitter.

What makes us tick? What are our values and are any of them transcendent? Do they go beyond the make-up and greasepaint, beyond simply following the crowd in its dream of success?

The preacher in today’s scripture obviously feels that life can be meaningless unless we have a clear idea about the reason we are on this earth. Without such a spiritual compass we are at the whim of a pointless merry-go-round that seems to take more out of us than it gives.

So what’s the driving force in your life? What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and confront the world and all its challenges?

What motivates you to keep on going and to make your mark? Given that life is short, what makes it worth living? When today’s psalmist came to answer these questions, he put it very simply:

Make us know the shortness of our lifethat we may gain wisdom of heart,O Lord, you have been our refugefrom one generation to the next.

For life to be meaningful we all need a goal.

What’s yours?

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