In his own words, Solomon said he “had everything a man could desire!” I must admit, the list of things Solomon chased in life while seeking pleasure was quite complete. Most of us will never attain such wealth or the extent of possessions he describes. Why didn’t anything bring him happiness?
It’s easy for us to say, “because you can’t buy happiness.” If we know that to be true, then why do we also seek pleasure in the same way? I don’t think we should be condemned from being happy for having new “toys,” but we need to realize that happiness from those such things will not last forever.
I can remember many a Christmas morning when the children were little. Each new present would bring them great joy, until the next present was opened. After being buried in wrapping paper scraps, bows, and ribbons, the joyful sounds of playing with new toys would fill the air. For hours, these new toys would bring pleasure. All the other toys, that had once brought such glee in years past, would sit forgotten on the shelf.
Solomon’s observations are not all wrong. People do believe their happiness depends on getting new “stuff.” I’m sure you’re thinking of something right now that you’re wishing for or perhaps even bought already. Maybe you’re picturing a new dress, or a new car, or that long-awaited vacation. All these things may bring joy, but it’s not lasting joy. Solomon even called it all “meaningless,” finding “nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”
God wants us to be joyful and find meaning in the life he has given us. One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. When we have the Holy Spirit living inside us, joy is one of those by-products we can enjoy, along with love, peace, kindness, etc. It’s a good reminder for us to remember the benefits the Holy Spirit brings.
For me, my recipe for joy is knowing that God loves me so much that he sent Jesus to rescue me and bring salvation to those who believe. It’s simple–all we need to do is remember that recipe! When we find pleasure in life, we have joy; and when we have joy, it’s easy to find things in life that please us.
Have you ever thought about what brings God pleasure? We focus on ourselves much of the time–do we stop to think about others? For God, his pleasure is driven by his desire to save the lost. He took action to please himself when he sent Jesus. The familiar verse in John 3:16 says it plainly. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God’s pleasure and our pleasure are united in Jesus. We are not lost when we are following Jesus.
Solomon may have been a wise king, but he had no idea about Jesus, the wisest king of all. Sadly, Solomon had drifted away from God during his life. By the time he attained the wealth he describes, he was no longer on the receiving end of God’s joy. We can learn from this and never want our faith in God to stray.
Let’s close with the words about Jesus found in 1 Peter 1:8. “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” Our source of joy and pleasure comes when we think of Jesus and what he did for us.
Let’s pray. Lord, I can feel the joy bubbling up inside me when I think of how much you love me. Thank you for sending Jesus and all that he endured for me. I look forward to the day when we will all be together in eternity. Until that day, Lord, fill me and use me to help you find the lost souls and bring them back to you. Equip me for each new task and challenge I encounter. I love how you always provide. In Jesus’ name. Amen.