Week 1: Ecclesiastes 1: 1-2
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!”
Live a Double Life, Please your Flesh& your Soul
You started a company. Good for you! Now you can rightfully gloat, accumulate depreciating possessions, economically discriminate and wrongfully attribute your selfish prayer life for your individualistic success. Harsh words I know but this is real. Many Christians enter the world of entrepreneurship for seemingly noble reasons that turn out to be anything but that. We are to be in the world but not of it, new creatures, a peculiar people. Unfortunately we live a double life. One which edifies our Savior and another that edifies our flesh.
How many of you engage every deed as though it were as immutable as the wind? I would imagine not many. The constant thought of ones own mortality is hardly a source of motivation, yet the Preacher confronts us with that very notion in the opening verses of Ecclesiastes 1. Although the words of the Preacher are hard to face they must be astutely heeded; especially as entrepreneurs.
Our Flesh Begs to be Innocent
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!”, the Preacher shouts. These words are used to convey ideas of brevity, unreliability, frailty and futility, lack of discernible purpose; yet they also convey the need to be proven wrong. The Preacher seems to be screaming and pleading with God for an answer which we will find later is “beyond the sun” (throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher makes statements which allude to his observations being of the earthly realm not heaven.) Examining the paradigm of this scripture through the lenses of a Christian entrepreneur, one should immediately reconcile that total depravity upon God and his everlasting and exorbitantly sufficient grace is at the root of our faith; however, just as the Preacher, we should also concede to that fact that our flesh beckons to be exonerated. Even in perfection, Adam and Eve sought to be placed in higher esteem in the sight of God. That “innocent” desire lead to the first sin and a continuous fall from grace for all of man kind. As entrepreneurs, doesn’t our pursuit of higher esteem mirror the Preacher’s desperate cry for exoneration? We pursue every dollar as though it were the glory of God himself. We hasten to label our every “good” thing as a blessing. We seem to never stop to consider the frailty of filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Invest Value into Others
Christian entrepreneurs must be of the greater good. The proverbial higher calling if you will. Our endeavors must always reflect an inward gratitude for the salvation we’ve been unrightfully awarded, lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8-10). If our eyes are not constantly fixated on this truth, our works will be as forgotten as a single petal in a field of flowers. Whether you are new to entrepreneurship or working on your twentieth company, sojourn with a heart of empathy (mental or emotional understanding of the life experiences of others without personal infraction). Empathy will require that you invest value into others and their circumstances. If we leave for just a moment our own desire for monetary consumption, we’ll find that a whole world is drowning under the weight of vanity. They don’t need another person to sell them something, they need someone to show them the hope of a life centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Pursue the One that Endures Forever
The pursuit of happiness is a constitutional right of every living man; however when that pursuit is defined by the vanity of sin, it will most assuredly be forgotten. We all want our lives to count. As entrepreneurs, we can only hope our businesses will make a lasting impact on humanity. In light of all of this my friends, I urge you to pursue the one that endures forever. Do everything as unto his Glory with an empathetic heart and you will have the reward you seek.