“I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But behold, this also was vanity. . . .Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Pleasures pursued for their own sake will never bring us lasting joy or life. Human desires run in a million different directions. We can spend our entire lives seeking to see our desires met. If we make this our god, though, we will never cease our running. One desire will give way to another and to another and to another. There will always be something new and better to want. We will wind up running until our legs give out and then we will crawl until our strength is gone. In the end, we will be left with only more unfulfilled desires.
Why this endless stream of desires? Why can we not ever seem to be fully and totally satisfied? There are two answers to this question. The first is that this is the nature of sin. It consumes. It is consumption. It endlessly wants what it does not have and once that is obtained, it wants something more. When sin is in the driver’s seat in our lives we will always strive and reach for more without ever finding satisfaction.
The second answer is this: If we have a desire that does not seem to be able to be finally satisfied by anything in this world, perhaps the reason for this is that it was intended to be satisfied by something that is beyond this world. As Solomon will yet write, we were created with eternity in our hearts. We were made for something more than we can see and experience here, we know it, and we search for it endlessly. We will only find the satisfaction we seek, though, when we look in the place we were created to be all along: the kingdom of God. There we will find the object of our searching: Home with our Heavenly Father.
We should enjoy the things of this world to the fullest extent wisdom would allow. God created this world for us to enjoy it. He made beautiful, pleasurable things because He is a good God who delights in giving good things to HIs people. But let us never be confused on the fact that our ultimate satisfaction was always intended to be found in Him.