Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes as a declaration of the vanity, or emptiness, of all things under the sun. He concludes the book by stating that the only true wisdom is to fear God and keep His commandments (12:13-14). This first chapter declares the vanity of man’s labor (v.1-11) and the vanity of man’s learning (v.12-18). They give no satisfaction (v.8) but they bring much grief (v.18).
Ecclesiastes forces us to reexamine the world in which we live and the things for which we strive. They give no lasting comfort and they all are to pass away with time. Why do we labor so long and hard for things that are so fleeting? What are the things that are most important to you? Judge them by the vanity factor. Do they satisfy? Will they last? How does God view them?