“I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14 NASB
In the early 19th century, many men were drawn to explore the Western U.S. In spite of the unknowns and dangers, most were drawn by a quest for minerals, furs, and other riches.
Typically, these explorers were rugged men, living irreverent lifestyles. But Jedediah Smith was different. Among these pioneers, his Christian faith made him stand out. When he arrived in St. Louis in 1822, one of the few things he brought with him was his Bible. A fellow trapper described him as “a very mild man, and a Christian, and there were very few of them in the mountains.”
In one trip west, Smith and his party nearly perished as they tried to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They had no water, and were cold, hungry, and exhausted. He wrote in his journal, “My horse freezing, my men discouraged, I then thought of the vanity of riches and of all those objects that lead men in the perilous paths of adventure.”
Smith realized that when people face perils like these they often “make the true estimate of things.” But when troubles are over, they quickly “forget the storm and embark again on the perilous Ocean.”
The Bible reminds us how easily we can develop a faulty perspective. How many pursuits are like “striving after wind,” consuming our time and energy but failing to bring lasting happiness or fulfillment.
Today, ask God to give you His perspective and the right priorities. Commit your life to Him. Seek the things that will last and matter in eternity.
PrayerFather, give me Your perspective on my life. I dedicate my life and heart to You. Keep me from pursuing vain things that don’t last. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Extended ReadingEcclesiastes 1