Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

04 August 2013

Sermon: Proper 13C (OT)

4 August AD 2013
Pentecost 11

Title: Vanity, Vanity (MP3 Audio)

Collier: Vanitas Summary: When the Preacher condemns “vanity” in today’s text, he’s not referring to a person’s attraction to the nearest mirror — although that can certainly be part of the problem. This vanity means “emptiness” or “futility.” As the closing verse notes, you’ll find equal fulfillment in “striving after the wind.”

Vanity includes all covetousness and lust, every thought or desire contrary to the Word and will of God. It encompasses everything we say or do to promote ourselves at the expense of others. It can be “keeping up with the Joneses” or “he who dies with the most toys wins.” Vanity might be a dependence upon beauty, fame, wealth, or power and may be directed toward God or our fellow man. In other words, when the Preacher decries vanity, he labels all people as gross idolaters and thoroughgoing violators of the First Commandment.

Our only rescue comes from the One whose life and death the world judges as vanity. He endured the taunt, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One! (Luke 23:35b)” It appeared that His death was in vain, for He hadn’t claimed the scepter and freed Judea from the Romans.

However, what scoffers label as Jesus’ meaningless death is the only thing that brings meaning to our lives. Because He emptied Himself, He fills us with every good thing. Because He devalued His own life, He establishes our lives as worth beyond all price. His lowest point was our highest, for as He died, He forgave all mankind and earned life eternal for all who would believe in Him.

Gilbert: All Is Vanity Text: Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-26

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Vanity, Vanity. Preached to the saints of God at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Fayette, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 100; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21

About the Art: A style of art called Vanitas was created around Ecclesiastes’ theme of futility. It was especially associated with certain still life paintings from the Low Countries in the 16th and 17th Centuries but is also seen in other styles, places, and periods. The first illustration by Edwart Collier, Self-Portrait with a Vanitas Still Life expanded upon the standard by making the artist himself one of the vanities. The following print, Charles Gilbert’s All Is Vanity, is a much more recent interpretation of the theme.

Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home