How much does the wind weigh? How substantial is it? What is its worth? The preacher Qoheleth, in the Book of Ecclesiastes, describes life as a vanity, a striving after the wind. “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities, all things are vanity!” (Eccl 1,2) Is it wise to chase after the wind in life? How much of our life is filled with meaningless tasks and endeavors? The preacher Qoheleth challenges us to examine what is really important in our lives. What is it in life that brings meaning and purpose? What is substantial enough for us to hold onto? So many things in life elude our grasp, slip through our fingers and carry no weight in the final analysis. We can spend a lot of time and energy in our lives caught up in activities that result in emptiness and regrets.
A lie carries no weight. Lies are illusions, vapors, smoke and shadows. Lies are deceptive. Too often we are tempted to throw away things that have true value and worth and fill our lives with that which is unreal and illusory. Satan is the father of lies. He has nothing true and of real value to offer. The world is Satan’s billboard where he advertises his lies and lures us away from that which has true value in life. Satan loves false news, rumors and gossip, false accusations and innuendoes. Jesus warns us that the devil is pure wind: “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. Can any of you charge me with sin? If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me?” (Jn 8,44-46) We don’t want to be living a lie and we don’t want to trade our faith in Jesus for a pack of lies from the devil. St. Paul tells us: “Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.” (Col 3,10)
Mine. One of the great deceptions in life is that possessing many things in life can bring us happiness. We are led to believe that we will find happiness in the things that we possess and of which we claim ownership and control. Jesus tells us differently, “One’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12,15) The true source of happiness in life are our relationships. We give life to one another in our relationships with others. True happiness lies in persons not in things. The Holy Trinity is not three things, but three persons in constant relationship. We are not the lords of our own lives and we are not meant to live autonomously in this life, cut of from others. We need one another to teach us love and to encourage us along the way.
The truth has substance and it endures. Truth brings meaning and purpose to life. The wise person learns how to discern the truth. What is true and has true value we must hold onto. Truth is not a thing that we possess but is a gift that is given to those who seek it. Jesus is the truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Truth is learned in relationship with the One who is truth and who can lead us into the fullness of truth. Truth builds character and virtue in our lives. Those are things that really matter most.
So many of the things in life that we think really matter are just illusions. They are like that mirage on the horizon that beckons us to follow a false path in life. In the end they have no more substance or weight than the wind. Chasing the wind is a folly and a vanity. Our true riches lie in what matters most to God. What matters to God? That’s what carries weight. The things of heaven carry much more weight than the things of this passing world. Our truest treasures are stored in heaven where they have eternal value. It is there that our hearts should be, holding on to truth. “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3,1ff) Our salvation matters to God as does our holiness and our love. Faith, family and friends are our greatest assets. It is in these things that we should invest our time and efforts building better relationships, not bigger barns.