“And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.”
The recipe for discontentment is found in this chapter. Solomon started a journey that many start in that he did everything for himself. When you look at this chapter, several key phrases show the recipe that led to his discontentment in life. Some of the phrases are, “Go to now,” “I sought in mine heart,” “I made me,” “I got me,” “I gathered me,” and “So I was great, and increased more…” In the verse above, Solomon made it clear that whatever he wanted, he didn’t stop himself from getting. In other words, he fed his flesh because he had the wherewithal to do it.
However, though Solomon did everything for himself, when he came to the end he found himself discontented with life. In fact, he said in verse 11, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” Solomon came to the same conclusion that everyone comes to who seeks to please themselves in life, and that conclusion was that living to please one’s self never brings satisfaction. Several principles can be learned from Solomon’s discovery that will keep you from following the recipe for discontentment.
First, sight living always produces discontentment. If you pursue everything that you see, you will find one day that you have everything you wanted but will discover that you truly have nothing. The problem with living by sight is that once you get what you see, you will discover that there will always be something better, which leads you to be dissatisfied with what you got.
Second, just because you can doesn’t mean that you should do. Solomon got everything he wanted because he had the money to do it. Just because you have the ability to get what you want doesn’t mean that you should get it. Likewise, just because you have the ability to do what you want to do doesn’t mean that you should do it. Oftentimes, the greatest satisfaction in life comes from telling yourself, “No!”
Third, living in the now always gives regret in the tomorrow. Solomon lived for the now, but he found out in the end that the now always left regret in the tomorrow. Many people have lived to do whatever the now told them to do only to find they had a mess to clean up when the tomorrow came. Instead of living for the now, you would be wise to live with a view of tomorrow’s consequences. If you take into consideration what the now will do to your tomorrow, you will keep yourself from having to suffer the consequences today of what you did yesterday.
Fourth, satisfaction only comes from living to please the Saviour by doing what He made you to do. There is no place or thing that will give you satisfaction; rather, satisfaction is found in the person of Jesus Christ. You will only find satisfaction in life when you fulfill the purpose for which God created you. When you live to please the LORD, you will never have the empty stomach that living to please yourself gives. Let me encourage you to stop trying to make yourself happy, and live to please the LORD. True satisfaction will be discovered when you live to please the LORD by doing what He made you to do.