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The Ecclesiastes Coda

“Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities, says the Preacher. All is futility (emptiness, falsity, vainglory, and transitoriness)!” - Ecclesiastes 12:8 Amplified Bible

Many musical compositions end with a “coda.” In these sections, composers take previously used ideas, and create a summation. In many ways, the concluding passage in Ecclesiastes is like a musical coda.

This book begins and ends by referring to the vanity of all things. In fact, the same words about vanity can be found in the opening verses and the closing chapter. In between, the Preacher dealt with many matters, and he described how he saw futility and emptiness everywhere.

He spoke reflectively about a lifetime of observations. Thinking about his own experiences, he advised young people, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.”

Reflecting the experience of age, he knew that life was short, and he wanted his readers to realize that every moment is precious. Looking back, he had wasted time in activities that were just like chasing the wind. He realized that human effort can be so futile: “Of making many books there is no end [so do not believe everything you read], and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

In his conclusions, he stressed why it was important to focus on God: The “end of the matter” is to “fear God and keep His commandments.” For He is watching and “will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

What would the Preacher say to you? First, he would encourage you to think about your life and remember that it will be over so quickly. Think about how you are spending your time. Are you just chasing the wind?

Seek to make the most of each moment, but don’t be overwhelmed with worry and fear. You can find peace as you entrust your life to God. Find meaning and purpose by serving Him. Gain stability as you make Jesus the Lord of your life.


Father, give me Your perspective on my life. Help me to trust in You. I seek to be faithful with the gifts and talents you have given me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Extended Reading

Ecclesiastes 12

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