Futility of Pleasure

Study Guide

Solomon is conducting an experiment wherein he uses all the resources and time at his disposal to see if he can find meaning in pleasure or accomplishment. We’re also trying to infuse meaning and substance into our lives, and we can learn from his experience that everything apart from God will leave us empty and without hope.
  1. In this passage, Solomon seeks meaning in pleasure and accomplishment. In which of these areas do you look for purpose—work, family, travel, your children’s accomplishments, status, wealth, image, or something else? Where does most of your mental energy go? What does this reveal about your hope?

  2. Lazy people want fulfillment to come easily to them, while motivated people are disappointed when their hard work does not bring fulfillment. Which category do you fall into? How have you seen this truth play out in your life?

  3. Take some time to reflect on what life would be like without the hope of the gospel. How would you try to infuse meaning or substance in your life? What would eternity look like?

Key Points
  • When we become obsessed with finding happiness and fulfillment—whether through sex, alcohol, work, family, or any set of circumstances—we are living in denial. We then distract our souls from something more substantial that offers real hope.

  • We are all bent towards foolishness. Our innate desire is to live life on our terms, unguarded and unrestrained.

  • Wisdom comes from fearing the Lord—understanding that he is our Creator and we are mere creatures. Humility is vital for us to live wisely.

  • Solomon tells us through his experience that no accomplishment, status, or significance can fill the void in our souls. There is no good life apart from God.

  • While there is nothing inherently wrong with work, family, or enjoying what life offers—if you make it the centerpiece of your life, it will leave you empty.

Other Scripture References

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11