Summer Under the Sun
Aug. 15-21 (Ecc. 5-8)
Vss. 10-12 state “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?” This teaching continues through vs. 20 and shows us the vanity of pursuing wealth. We see how fickle wealth can be, as a bad investment or an economic crash can render one's riches worthless. Along with this, we will all eventually die and whatever we own will not go with us. In wealth alone there is no satisfaction. The teacher gives us the solution in vs. 18, saying “Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.” We should find joy, through Jesus, in our work and in the little things in life, i.e. a good meal or a fun evening with a friend.
How have you tried to pursue wealth in the past? Has it truly satisfied you?
What is one way you can look past pursuing wealth this week and enjoy the little things in life?
Explain a time when you were faced with a choice or situation and you had no idea what was the better option or way to go.
Vs. 12 says “For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?” This verse helps us see that life is not always black and white; it isn’t always easy to tell what the correct path is.
In the situation that you explained before, how did you go about making your decision? Did it work out in the end?
How does the reality of Christ change the way we approach these situations?
The first half of vs. 1 says “A good name is better than precious ointment.” The principle being taught here is that it is better to have good character than to surround yourself with the luxuries of life. Pastor Jason, in his sermon on August 8th, put it this way, “Character is better than comfort.” Jason talked about how precious ointment can be represented by things like perfume, deodorant, or an Altoid. These are good things that benefit everyone by masking body odor. Character, however, isn’t something that you throw on to mask a bad thing. Good character takes time to develop, and it’s often uncomfortable to do so, but it is a lasting trait that will bring blessing to you far more than the comforts of life will.
Explain a time when having good character brought blessing to your life. When did you start developing that character?
What is one part of your character that you can focus on developing this week?
Do you find it easy to trust God? Why or why not? How can you learn to trust Him more?
One of the biggest things people struggle with is the fact that sometimes bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Vs. 14 recognizes this, saying “There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.” Sometimes, no matter what we do, bad things will happen. The teacher goes on, in the next three verses, to urge us to find joy in the good despite the bad. In Ecc. 6:1-2 he actually says it is an evil thing to not find joy in the good things that God has given us.
What is one area of your life that you can find joy and rest in today? How, specifically, can you go about finding joy and rest in it this next week?