When More Becomes Less


Pleasure is a lousy god—it's just never satisfied.

Are you familiar with the law of diminishing returns? Simply stated, in a consumptive lifestyle, more and more is needed to maintain the same level of satisfaction. King Solomon discovered this when his pursuit of pleasure required more wives, more horses, more food, more wine and more land. His self-styled “pleasure safari” quickly escalated beyond control.

Maybe it’s hard for you to relate to King Solomon’s dilemma—but the law of diminishing returns is easily illustrated in other ways. It could apply to golf, for example. I like golf. I like being outdoors and moving around. I like competition, even if it’s just competing with myself to improve last week’s score. But one of the first things I learned when I began to play golf is that there are golfers, and there are golfers. I recently saw a needle-pointed pillow which stated: “Life is a game—golf is serious.” Whoever owned that pillow probably started out as I did—borrowed clubs, any course I could get on, make-shift attire—but now they have gone beyond that take-it-or-leave-it stage.

“Hacking” isn’t fun anymore, so now they succumb to the theory of escalation: “If you look good, you feel good; if you feel good, you play good; if you play good, you win.” The time comes when only Ping irons will do. And Callaway woods. Without these “necessities,” the game just isn’t fun anymore. Get the picture? The law of diminishing returns says the same effort produces less satisfaction. So we put more into our passion—whatever it may be—just to enjoy it as much as we did yesterday. Pleasure is a lousy god. It’s just never satisfied.


All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:10).


Luke 10-11; Revelation 7

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