I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility.
There is a message in Ecclesiastes for people of every stage in life. For example, do you know anybody who has experienced a midlife crisis? You might be in the middle of one right now. There is a time that comes in peoples’ lives when after climbing the ladder of success, they realize the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall altogether. So they become disillusioned with life. They think, “Life is not what I thought it was going to be, so I need to make some serious changes.”
Did you know the word “crisis” comes from a Greek word that means “judgment” or “decision”? A midlife crisis can be a good thing if you evaluate your life and find you need to be going in a different direction. But it becomes a true crisis when you end up making the wrong decision, when you fall for the lie that says, “If only . . .” We think, “If only I lived in a larger house, if only I had a larger salary, if only I had a different mate–then I could truly be happy in life.”
You see, many of us fall for the myth that happiness is somewhere other than where we are right now. Last week, I called that the oasis syndrome. Many of us believe if only we had just a little more money or power or pleasure, it would fill the void in our lives. As a result, we wear ourselves out in search of that thing we think is going to make us happy–only to find out when we get there that it was a mirage. That is what happened to Lot in Genesis 13. He looked with longing at the fertile Jordan valley, thinking, “If only I could have that piece of land, then I could be happy.” But Lot’s decision to settle in that land did not bring him happiness; instead, it led him and his family into one disaster after another. C.S. Lewis reminded us that things like money, power, and pleasure are simply fool’s gold. He wrote, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The message of Ecclesiastes is that all the money, power, and pleasure in the world are not going to make you happy. It is all an illusion.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Searching for the Good Life” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in “The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses” (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2015), 26.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.