Pleasure is Meaningless

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:3b, ‘I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.’


Observations: Yesterday I criticized science, and yet the Teacher is not above using scientific methods to test his theories. He says he ‘wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives’ and so he systematically tries everything that people normally believe are ‘worthwhile’ endeavours. He tests himself with pleasure (v1), laughter (v2), and wine (v3). He undertook ‘great projects: houses, vineyards, gardens, parks and reservoirs. (v4-6)’ He acquired slaves, herds and flocks (v7), great wealth and even a harem (v8). He denied himself nothing (v10), and yet in the end his conclusion was that ‘everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (v11)’ Even though he took delight in all these things (v10), in the end they didn’t change anything.


Application: Of course pleasure is pleasurable, that’s why we call it pleasure. But pleasure only lasts for a moment, ultimately it doesn’t satisfy. The Bible actually describes sin in terms of being ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (2 Tim 3:4)’ While God made us to experience pleasure, we must be careful that it doesn’t become an idol. Pleasure is unable to save, it just blinds us to our need of salvation. Instead Jesus said, ‘seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness. (Mt 6:33)’ How much is pleasure (materialism, sensualism, wealth, alcohol etc.) a potential idol in your life? Do you seek God above pleasure?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You are the source of all good things, and You have given them to me to enjoy, and yet I manage to make those things into idols, and I love those things more than I love You. Lord, forgive me when I turn Your blessings into a curse, when I love pleasure more than I love You. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit, that I may seek Your kingdom and what is right in Your eyes. May I enjoy Your good gifts, but may I enjoy You more. In all things may I honour You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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