Pleasures Are Meaningless

King Solomon was the wisest, wealthiest man on earth. He denied himself nothing. He enjoyed great pleasures and had everything that his money could buy. However, he never found true joy through materialism. Look at Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11:

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

We see King Solomon indulging in whatever his heart desired. He drank wine, undertook great projects, built houses and vineyards, he planted gardens and parks. He had many slaves, large herds and flocks. He had more silver and gold and treasures than anyone. He had harems, singers, and whatever he desired. He denied himself nothing. He felt he had earned all this because of his hard work.

However, when he stopped and looked at all that his hands had done and what he had toiled to achieve, he found it all meaningless. He did not find pleasure or joy in things or people. He gained nothing. His pleasures were meaningless.

Are you too striving for happiness by accumulating things? Are you buying items to satisfy your heart’s desire with money you don’t have? Are you trying to keep up with your neighbors and charging up your credit cards to deny yourself nothing? If you are, then carefully read Ecclesiastes 2 and you will see that true joy does not come from whatever is on this earth. True joy and pleasure comes from loving and serving God. You are not going to achieve this by incurring debt. Debt will only bring you strife and grief. Learn to be content with what you have. Stop coveting what others have and enjoy the riches with which God has blessed you.

You might not have a Rolls, but if you have a car that runs, food on the table, a job, and a roof over your head, you have more than others around the world. Turn your focus from yourself and turn it to serving God. Don’t make money or materialism your god.


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