Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.
What does a man gain by his toil?
Like cycling winds of ceaseless calamity,
So are a man's days on earth's soil.
A man may labor faithfully under the sun.
But for what? He lives and then he dies.
The fruits of his toil will go to another one.
The same end meets all, fool or wise.
Under the sun, toil is the lot of wise and fool.
What gain have the wise? They die too.
But above the sun, another measuring tool
Is used to sort mankind in two.
Not the fool and wise, but the righteous and sinner:
Such is God's view above the sun.
To the upright God grants peace in daily dinner,
Joy while their tasks are being done.
Not freedom from toil, but joy amid his labors,
Is granted to one who fears God.
The righteous one's task is not unlike his neighbor's.
To the daily grind all are called.
Instead the difference lies deep inside a man's heart.
The just for their dear Lord do live.
They see the great drama of which they are a part,
And to God, great glory they give.
But, one may protest, all have sinned. Who can please God?
Joy for the righteous is all well,
But there are none righteous, none who seek to please God.
Dead in sin, all are bound for hell.
'Tis true, yes, but not the whole truth, for there is hope.
God sent His only Son to die.
He saw sinful men, as in the darkness they groped.
To low man He came from on high.
The sinless Lamb shed His blood for His wayward lambs.
The speckled flock became snow-white.
Clothed with the righteousness of He with nail-scarred hands,
By faith they now walk in the Light.
Both the righteous and the sinner share the same work.
Toiling on earth under the sun.
But for Christ's sheep, tasks are worship, duties they shirk
Not, but worship in light of the Son.