“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live” (3:12). The author of Ecclesiastes indulged himself in every possible pleasure and interesting project in order to find meaning (ch 2), but in the end, all was useless. We can’t satisfy our own appetites for pleasure, ambition, and accomplishments – in fact, we quickly lose true satisfaction (1:8, 2:11) when we are confronted by our limitations and inevitable death (3:19).
However, everything God does “endures forever” (3:14). We can “be joyful and do good” when we accept God’s simple gifts of work, food, friendship and rest (3:11-3:14).