Vanity

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Thomas a Kempis was a monk some 600 years ago. He wrote a handbook called The Imitation of Christ on Christian growth for other monks in 1427. What he wrote especially in the area of humility and Christian devotion in 1427 for a group of Monks still rings true for us who live in 2006 and so I wanted to share a portion of it with you.

“Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.”

There is more I want to share with you from this book, “It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.”

Vanity is a word not used very much in the English language today so let me help you out. In Webster’s vanity is defined as something that is vain, empty or valueless. Perhaps that helps to clarify better what Kempis was trying to tell us so many years ago.

We tend to give value to many things in this world; our position in society, our bank accounts, the house in which we live, our relationships, etc. But he tells us that all of those things are empty and valueless compared to the riches of serving and loving God.

One point he makes that I find interesting is where he says what good would it do us to know the entire Bible and all kinds of philosophies and live without grace and the love of God. In a world that puts a great deal of emphasis on knowledge we need to hear that knowledge without the love of God is empty.

Church people need to hear this message, keeping in mind that Kempis himself was writing his handbook to a group of monks. We must be careful to not live empty lives filled with knowledge of God and about God but without the grace of God.

Lets be honest for a minute, some of us are living empty and valueless lives. We are searching in vain for anything that will give value to our lives. The world stumbles in darkness in search of purpose. Unfortunately many find things other than God that keeps them bound to the darkness and still feeling empty at the end of the day.

Today your soul may feel empty; you may be religious but still not feel close to God. You are valuable to God and He and He along can fill the emptiness in your heart.

Knowledge is not bad, but without the love and grace of God, well it is vanity.

Scripture: John 8:12, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Payer: Dear Lord, be with us as we seek to follow you. Help us to find true meaning with you. Help us to serve and love you with all of our hearts. Help us to find the balance between knowledge and action. Have us to represent you well and may you find us on our knees as we seek forgiveness where we have failed you. We ask these things in Christ Name, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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