Ecclesiasties: 1:1. . .“Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
My favorite verse in the Bible. I also like the Geneva Bible, which predated King James. Everything after that just gets more watered down. Solomon, the wisest man in the Old Testament, wrote the most doom and gloom book that you would think he struggled with depression.
The first and last verse of Ecclesiastes pretty much say it all. But in between, the author sums up how everything under the soon is meaningless and there is nothing really new. And that was 3,000 years ago. I think it was GK Chesterton who said there was no such as progress. Underneath all the change, we are still the same people and everything is basically the same, just with a different style.
There is nothing wrong with pursuing material gain; as long as we don’t make it our identity. Everything we gain in this life will die with us, except for our faith and the good deeds we do to serve our neighbor.
Solomon goes on to say that since everything is vanity, the best we can do is find satisfaction in our work; amazingly the the vanity of everything and the enjoyment of it both come from God.
Many people will give up when they realize that life is ultimately meaningless. But the wise ones will feel a sense of freedom. That just means there is no sense of expectation that society tries to place on you. There is no need to try and “keep up” with everyone else.
Do whatever makes you happy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else or hinder your relationship with the Divine.