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Ecclesiastes: Searching for Happiness

The result is that he lived a better life than anyone else. Verse 9 says that he enjoyed more pleasure than anyone who had gone before him. He also had the means to do this. He had the wealth to afford this kind of lifestyle.

Again, you see this approach everywhere. Make enough money to live the life. Hit the bar. Party. Have sex. Buy nice stuff. Or a lighter version of this would be to distract yourself with distraction and diversion: social media, games, and entertainment.

But this experiment also failed. He says in verse 11:

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.

Today’s English Version says, “I realized that it didn’t mean a thing. It was like chasing the wind.”

Even after he enjoyed everything, he still felt empty. It’s ironic. The harder we go after pleasure, the less pleasure we find. It’s never enough. Nothing perishable will ever satisfy us, no matter what we get to enjoy.

Joy Davidman said: “Living for his own pleasure is the least pleasurable thing a man can do; if his neighbors don’t kill him in disgust, he will die slowly of boredom and lovelessness.”

Experiment Three: Achievement

The final experiment we’re going to look at is achievement. Out of all of these, this is probably my drug of choice. Do things. Get things done. Leave your mark in the world. Karl Marx said, “Labor is the very touchstone of man’s self-realization. Man labors to transform his world, to put his own mark upon it, to make it his.” Work is where a lot of us get meaning in our lives. Plot the right career moves. Get in the right position. Get noticed. Get promoted. Build a name for yourself. Accomplish something.