READ: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 (v9-11)
- In the end, Solomon returns to the ubiquitous mantra, “chasing after wind.” He acknowledges that he restrained himself from nothing that might produce pleasure. He sought meaning in works, wisdom, wealth, wine and/or anything else that might be pleasant. All, he says, in a search to find purpose. None of it worked. It never does. Possessions, pleasure, and accomplishments…they are all fleeting. They cannot add meaning to a person’s life.
- That’s the deception. We are led to believe that if we are not suffering, life is good. We are told that pain is always bad, medicate it. We are bombarded with ads to have more, experience more, do more, be more, because more self-gratification is always better than less gratification. Burger King’s premier ad campaign was “Have it your way.” Starbucks offers over 80,000 potential coffee configurations so you can be pleased.
- Servers in restaurants bombard you with questions about; “how your meal looks, tastes, and satisfies” because everyone knows you don’t eat for nutrition, you eat for pleasure. The reason Solomon’s words are so important and so powerful is simple: we need them. They speak directly to our world of self-gratification.
- What evidence would you offer that pleasure is fleeting?
- How do you suppose we became so enamored with self-gratification?
- Is it really true that there’s “nothing to be gained” for all our efforts?
PRAY: Ask God to focus you on what lasts. Pray that you are not ensnared by the trap of self-satisfaction. Commit to being open to what you can learn from non-pleasant experiences.