A ‘Plane’ View Of The Vanity Of Man


A few years ago as my airplane circled above Denver on the flight to Utah, I peered out the window to see the beautiful sites of the city below. We were sufficiently high enough that only plots of land were distinguishable and the homes that sat on them looked like the size homes you find in a common monopoly game. As I gazed around the panoramic scene I was again reminded of the immensity and beauty of the earth. I was also struck by the “nothingness” of man. The experience of Moses with the Lord captured in the scriptures best describes my feelings at that moment:

“And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end…. And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered. And the presence of God withdrew from Moses… he fell unto the earth. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed. (Moses 1: 4, 8-10).

By airplane,  in a much smaller but similar way, I was given a glimpse of what God showed to Moses that day. It was again confirmed in my heart of the pride and vanity of man who, upon “owning” a small patch of ground, believes himself to be of great importance. As I looked out the window of the plane I saw evidence of the greatness of God and the insignificance of man. However, the nothingness of man is only in comparison to the greatness of God. We are of great value in His eyes because we are his offspring and have potential to become like him. And so the ironic aspect of it all is how man can think so highly of himself because of his “supposed” riches, fame, power and dominion while overlooking the true nature of his greatness which is due to his heritage as offspring of the omnipotent God of the universe.

As we continued circling the beautiful city of Denver I could imagine the thoughts of many who own such “pieces” of ground.

“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12: 16-21).

Vanity and its traveling companions of envy and jealousy are traits contrary to the principles of the gospel. The true riches of this earth are the character that we bring with us from this world to the next. Let us be meek and ever mindful of the things that are eternal and becoming of the royal heritage we bear!


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