The Meaning of Pleasure

While a member of Congress, Abraham Lincoln was once criticized by a friend for his seeming rudeness in declining to test the rare wines provided by their host. The friend said to him: “There is certainly no danger of a man of your years and habits becoming addicted to the … More


Solomon searched for life’s meaning as you would an experiment. He first tried pursuing pleasure (vv. 1-3). He undertook great projects, bought slaves and herds and flocks (vv. 4-7). Then he amassed great wealth, acquired singers and added many women to his harem (v. 8).

In his quest for pleasure he denied himself no avenue through which pleasure might be gained. As the richest and most powerful man who had ever lived in Jerusalem he surrounded himself with everything he could think of to satisfy his aesthetic needs and physical desires (vv. 9-10).

Even though he could gain some satisfaction from the joy of accomplishment, when he stopped to reflect on the real value of what he had accomplished, he concluded that it was all futile and meaningless. He described it as “chasing after the wind” (v. 11).

Just as we feel the wind as it passes by we can’t catch hold of it and keep it. In all of our accomplishments, even the big ones, our good feelings are only temporary. Security and self-worth come and go. Think about what you consider worthwhile in your life and where you place your time, energy and money. Will you one day look back on your life and decide, like Solomon did, that these too were a grasping for the wind.


Is my goal in life to search for meaning or to search for God who gives meaning to life?    

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 (English Standard Version)

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