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There you are with nothing but flip-flops on your feet, a t-shirt, sweatpants, and a tin roof over your head. You decide to put walls under the roof and you have a house. Next, you build a closet. Correction! A walk-in closet because you want lots of stuff. Then it would be nice to have a car and you will need a snowblower in case there is a blizzard. Better yet, a garage and you can’t have one without a lawnmower. Of course, you have to pay for all of this so you go back to school so you can get a better job. A new job means time to buy a bigger house. What are you doing? What are doing with your life? You are climbing the mountain of success. Of course, you know that you will never reach the top of the mountain of success because there will always be something else to grab on to. As you are climbing you look up and notice that someone is on the top. That would be King Solomon. He was given all wisdom and knowledge by God. His father David gave him the kingdoms of the world to rule and he received gifts and lived in a mighty palace. He had everything. So you see him standing at the top and you shout to him asking what is the view like at the top because you will never know. 

He tells you: “Hevel of Hevel, all things are Hevel.  Naturally, he is speaking Hebrew, so I will translate: “Vapor of vapor, all things are vapor.”  Vapor is that substance that will completely disappear before your very eyes. So here is my question. What would cause all of Solomon’s money and power and knowledge to disappear before his very eyes like vapor? Answer: death. Solomon wrote a book, Ecclesiastes, to tell us what it is like to die. He is not happy and he is not ashamed to tell us. “What good is spending my whole life in toil and labor to gain all that you work for and then lose it all death? As I said, he is not happy.

One thousand years later another king and another son of David dies. This time he rises. This is exciting for us because for the first time ever, someone can tell us what it is like to die. In fact, we expect that Jesus would go on a rant like king Solomon but he does not. When Jesus rises he hangs out in the garden. We know this because Mary thinks he is a gardener. Then at night he visits his friends to get something to eat. In the morning he is making breakfast with a charcoal fire, telling his friends were to cast the net for a catch. He gives Peter a promotion, making him the first pope. Jesus gives them God’s Spirit and powers to forgive sin. Jesus is a man who seems to be very happy. The reason he is happy is because did not lose anything when he died. Nothing turned to vapor. Death was not able to take away the one important thing valued–God, His Father. And that is why he is happy.

On Easter, we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. We think, finally, someone can tell us what it is like to die. But Jesus did not come back to tell us what death is like. He came to tell us how to live, and it is this. Do not spend your whole life climbing the mountain of success because death will take it all away. Dedicate your life, work hard, and labor for the one thing that death will never take away.

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