“All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. . . . Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after the wind.”Eccl 6:7, 9
There has to be something more to life than working to have food so that one can satisfy his hunger. He will be hungry again and must work all the time to eat. The wandering of the appetite is vanity. Chasing after our whimsical desires is like chasing the wind. Our appetites are never satisfied. What a shallow, unthinking, meaningless existence. And, sadly, how common!
Better is the sight of the eyes, the conscious, careful awareness that allows one to make decisions based on more than his appetites. I don’t have to chase my appetites. I am not an animal. I can deliberately choose to do something that I do not want to do. I am able to deny myself for a greater cause. I am able to see past the meaningless, unending, empty, and impossible aim of pleasing myself in the way the world does.
It is not God’s purpose for us to be miserable. And we certainly should enjoy eating, drinking, and working, for this is our lot (Eccl 5:18). It is the temporal vanity of finding our full meaning in enjoying this life that we must escape. There is something greater.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
What is this path of life? What frees us from this world and enslavement to our appetites? Faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Christ, which breaks the penalty and power of sin and reconcile me to God, who is life himself. “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).