Striving After Wealth
Topic: The Meaning of Life Passage: Ecclesiastes 2:1–11, Ecclesiastes 2:18–26
I read this week … a book totally separate from what we are doing … the author of the book says, Satan has two great strategies that he works by—pain and pleasure.
People experience pain and suffering in their life and conclude (one of two conclusions) that God is evil and therefore He allowed the suffering in my life and they don’t like that so they reject God as being evil.
Or God is impotent and can’t do anything about that in either way. Then they reject God. So, pain is one of the great strategies of Satan but the other one is pleasure. People experience pleasure and they experience comfort in abundance. From that they conclude that God is unneeded. I don’t really need him, they say. He might be there. He might be good. But, he’s just largely unneeded.
The second of these strategies is powerful because it’s so subtle. We don’t actually reject God outright; we just don’t need him anymore and reject him in that way.
That second one is really a brilliant and effective strategy. If we look around us in our own culture, we see how effective it is. God just isn’t really needed any more.
The thesis of the Preacher—all is vanity, all is a vapor, a puff of wind (vs 2). Everything is useless. There’s no gain, no satisfaction, there’s no ultimate meaning anywhere under the sun, anywhere on earth. Life is pretty much futile
The business of seeking meaning is an evil hateful business, he says. So, he’s still looking to test every part of life. He wants to show us that his thesis he begins with is true so he is testing every part of life to see if there’s any actual gain somewhere out there; is there any actual profit? If you live life, is there anything left at the end that you profited from?
Today he tests his thesis with a relevant thing—is there satisfaction in the toil of gaining wealth and pleasure? Does pleasure justify human existence?
His answer is our primary claim—that wealth and pleasure in the world seem to hold great promise for satisfaction, but fail miserably to provide ultimate meaning. It’s relevant because everyone of us has tested or are testing this thesis as we go about our lives.
The question: can we find satisfaction in the pleasure in the comforts of the world? That’s a question we face every day because we seek that every day.
It’s a daily temptation to find our pleasure and comfort in the world, to find meaning in that.
We are again going to go down into the pits of darkness with the Preacher. As we do, we are also going to get a glimpse of the light of Christ, even at the bottom of the pit.