The Problem with Pleasure
The Point: Pleasures and possessions don’t offer lasting joy.
Get Into the Study
Use the following as an alternate introduction and Question 1.
“Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market,” a Samsung spokesman recently revealed. This move may be the result of the continued decline of physical media. While it was only a few years ago that Samsung excitedly released the first 4K Blu-ray player, the market for technology is quickly changing. Physical media is on the decline as more users choose streaming/digital consumption.
Ask: When have you been excited to purchase an item that later became obsolete?
Explain that the ever-changing technology we are seeing in our lifetime illustrates the fleeting nature of possessions and pleasures. Pleasures and possessions don’t offer lasting joy.
Nikki Wilbanks is a stay-at-home mom, writer, Bible study teacher, and commercial real estate appraiser/investor. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
Study the Bible
Use the following illustration as you wrap up your discussion of the Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 section.
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Joy of Tidying Up, released a show on Netflix this January called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” The premise of the book—and the show—is that the problem with most people’s homes isn’t that they’re not nice enough: it’s that those homes have way too much in them. People with hoarder-level piles of stuff spend weeks and weeks going through the literal baggage that has weighed them down for years, with the promise of feeling deep joy and release by the end of the process. The show became an overnight sensation, motivating Americans to go through their items piece-by-piece, trying to determine what “sparks joy,” and what they simply don’t need.
The search for joy in America is ongoing, isn’t it? There’s nothing new about the idea that more stuff doesn’t equal more happiness—Solomon had this figured out thousands of years ago. But whether it be through more stuff, or now, less stuff, people are constantly looking for the silver bullet that will fix their lives.
As Christians, we know that true joy can only come from the hope of eternal life that we find in Jesus Christ (although some of us could probably stand to tidy up our living rooms, too). The best thing we can do is share that message freely.
Ashley Emmert is a freelance writer and full-time mama from Chicago, where she lives with her husband and her new baby boy. You can find her on Twitter at @ashgemmert, or failing to update her blog at ashleygraceemmert.blogspot.com.
- When you think of the phrase “Money can’t buy happiness,” who or what comes to mind?
- When has your enjoyment of something increased because of the people you experienced it with?
- When have you experienced “buyer’s remorse” after making a purchase?
- Why are pleasures of this life so attractive to us?
- How would you describe the theme of most advertisements for alcohol?
- Where do you see people grasping at folly in our world today?
- How does Solomon’s pursuit resemble our own culture’s drive to find pleasure and wealth?
- What is the difference between being proud of your accomplishments and boasting in your accomplishments?
- When have you seen an increase in possessions lead to an increase in problems?
- For Solomon, why is a pursuit for power, possessions, and pleasure tied so closely together?
- How do you see the cycle described by Solomon repeating itself in our lives today?
- Why is it sometimes good to deny ourselves something we desire?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Finding Meaning, – Session 2.
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This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- HomeLife – Consumerism