Today we will read Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11:
I said to myself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But again, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; 5 I made myself gardens and parks and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, many concubines.
9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure from all my toil, and this was my reward from all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Yesterday we looked at the Teacher’s journey when it came to finding satisfaction. We saw him try wisdom, a good thing in and of itself. But when he tried that, he found that it did not satisfy him, that it did not give him the life that he was seeking.
So today, we see he goes the other way. He tries pleasure. He seeks everything that he could possibly desire. He tries laughter. Nope, that didn’t do it.
He tried it all: great works, houses, pools, possessions, treasure, entertainment, every desire of the flesh. Whatever his eyes desired, he did it. He kept his heart from no pleasure. He did it all. Everything, everythihing.
He had the nice house in the nice subdivision. He made sure his kids had all the nicest things. He had the fancy care, the lakehouse, the corner office, every concert, season tickets, everything you could ever want. Everything. He kept his heart from no desire.
Everything. It makes me think of the old song by Queen – I want it all!
Well, he had it all, and what did he find? Nothing. Vanity. It didn’t satisfy. It didn’t make him happy. It didn’t give him life. Nothing he could gain or win or buy could satisfy him.
Sounds like life today, huh? We can have the nice house. Nice zip code. Nice schools for our kids. Nice trips. Everything we could want. Everything. But let me ask you this question. Does it really satisfy? I mean really. At night, when it’s just you and your thoughts, does it really satisfy? Or do our souls know that we are made for something deeper. Something more. Something more than the stuff of this world? Don’t we know that? As Jesus said, do we gain the whole world and lose our soul.
In fact, it’s the opposite than what we may think. I’ll tell you a secret. I’ll tell you the quickest and easier way to make yourself miserable. Live only for yourself. If you live only for yourself, you will, in time, have nothing worthwhile.
For life only for ourselves and our wants, that is vanity. The Teacher tells us that.
Today, if you are living only for yourself, your wants, your desires, your stuff, friends, I promise you. I PROMISE you; you will be miserable.
We are made for so much more.
Ecclesiastes will help us to understand that.
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