Daryl Webb shouted at me. “Lonzo you are chasing vapor trails!” I was operating as a marauding defensive end for a football club. I was a ripped, lean, lethal 165 pound 17% body fat, pure animal. (Start humming Springsteen’s “Glory Days”). Webb was our athletic coordinator and coach. In his scheme of things, defensive ends did not contain—we penetrated the backfield. I was getting in the backfield—every time— but could not get a substantial hold on the elusive QB. I’d reach out and come away with nothing.

When Solomon says, “Vanities” in Ecclesiastes, and he says it A LOT, what he may be saying is better translated as “meaningless” or literally “mere breath” and it is the breath that is exhaled not inhaled. Not the spirit of life giving breath but the breath that’s already been spent. Think of other terms he uses like chasing or herding the wind. Think in terms of “vapors”. You are chasing vapors, trying to hold mist, herding the wind. Yes Solomon has a list of ten things that are a waste of breath. If we pursue them, they are meaningless vapors—chasing the wind. The list is impressive and includes wisdom, human labor/accomplishment, human purpose, wealth, fame, and recognition. What the list does not include– what is not wasted breath, meaningless, and vapors is found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and it is the only thing Solomon will discuss and not conclude with “vapors.”

Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep warm. But how can one be warm alone { Me – don’t get all cra cra here}. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated; but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT)

The bottom line? In the list of meaningless, vaporous, wasted breath, things the wisest man in the history of the world admits: Relationships Matter.

Who we surround and with whom we surround ourselves with will have a great impact on our spiritual success, recovery, warmth/ connection, and security. Relationship is the rare thing of true value found in Solomon’s discussion of the meaning of the meaningless.

One leadership consultant says that people want to know three things:

  • Do you like me?
  • Can I trust you?
  • Will you help me?

What Solomon describes here is the value of having people in our lives that we can trust to be trustworthy, help us, and value us. As much as is it is valued to have someone in your life who is like this, I’m more interested in becoming that person for the people who are in my life.

Relationships Matter

Who you are in a relationship matters more. Will you be that one who help others succeed, recover, belong (have warmth), and be secure? It’s nice to have that person; it matters more to be that person.