Chapter 1 – Despise the Vanity of the World
Despise the Vanity of the World
A child was once looking at the rainbow. See! The end of it comes down way over yonder, in that field, where the walnut tree stands. People told her that if she would go where the end of such a rainbow was, she would find something beautiful- a costly treasure. So, now, she would just run over to the walnut tree, and see what she would find in the end of the rainbow. She hurries over; and when she reaches the tree, she is tired and nearly out of breath; and she looks around for the treasure. But the rainbow is gone; and there is no treasure, nor anything beautiful as she expected. She is awfully disappointed.
Do you know what vanity is? Vanity means something empty. If there is anything you think is worth something, or you think there is something of great worth in it, and you find out it is not worth anything at all, or there is nothing at all of worth in it, why, then, that is what we call a vanity.
Now, Jesus invites you to follow Him; the world coaxes you to follow it. Jesus says, He will teach you, and give you many good things. But these good things are yet hidden. First, He wants you to follow Him; then He will let you taste these good things by and by. Jesus, and His Spirit, and His teachings, and the good things He possesses, are all hidden manna. You will find out how sweet this manna is only when you have tasted it.
But you must not turn away from it. Because you often hear about this manna, and you never see anything but what looks poor and insignificant, you might think there is nothing in it, and you might go by and let it alone, and not care anything about it.
First of all, Jesus wants you to be humble. Even if you knew the whole Bible by heart, and could tell all the smart things that the great men of the world have said, your Saviour would not want you to be the least bit proud about it. He says Himself: “I resist the proud; but to the humble I give My grace.” Therefore, first of all, if you want to be a follower of Jesus, and taste of the hidden manna, you must be humble.
But the world also makes you promises. It says: “Look here, little one! my goods are not hidden. They are open before you: you can see them, taste them, possess them. I will give you riches and honors, and any pleasure and amusement you can desire. I will give you a long life of happiness. Follow me, and I can assure you, you can always sing: “I am as happy as a big sunflower!”
Beware, my child! Do not listen to this voice. What the world promises you is nothing but vanity. It has fooled many a one, and brought him into misery; and he was sorry for it only when it was too late. Listen to Jesus, and follow Him on the road He leads you. With Him you will find your true and only happiness.
“Vanity of vanities,” says Thomas à Kempis, “and all is vanity, but to love God and Him alone.”