Step 1: Opening and Introduction to the lesson – Personal Testimonies from last week’s study and Reflection: What was the most physically exhausting job you ever did? What effect does your work have on you: Invigoration? Frustration? Exhaustion? Boredom? What pleasure in life do you not get enough time for?
Step 2: Hear – Read: Riches are Meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:8 – 6:9.
Step 3: Explore – Discover the Passage
- What is the reason for the oppression in 5:8-9? Why should we not be surprised by this? Why do the 3 proverbs (5:10, 11, 12) prove to be meaningless?
- What about money is he bemoaning here: The addiction to money? Its emptiness? The swarm of hangers-on? The indulgence of money? What is the grievous evil of 5:13-15? Of 5:16-17? How do wealth hoarded and wealth lost (5:13-14) fit into this observation?
- What isn’t right about going out as naked as we arrive? Is the teacher asking of life more than it can ever give? In 5:18-20, what does the teacher conclude is good and proper? Why (see 2:24-26)? Why is it a blessing not to reflect with the mind but to enjoy with the heart? What might the teacher be saying about himself here?
- What is the other evil in 6:1-2 and 3-6? What belief influences the teacher’s conclusions (v. 6b)? How does 6:7=9 continue the thought of the preceding? What is better (v. 9)? Why is that?
Step 4: Connect – Apply the Passage:
- Do you view the person at the top of your organization as getting rich off the others down below? Where are you on that corporate ladder – getting richer or getting poorer?
- What priority does the pursuit of wealth and work have in your life? Is this necessary? What are you expecting your life’s work will give you in the end?
- Are you more inclined to help the poor and needy when your situation is similar, or when you have more money to make a bigger difference?
- How much gladness of heart do you presently experience in your labor under the sun (5:20)? What would help you enjoy your work more? In the Old Testament, the dream of a lifetime was hundreds of children and thousands of years on earth (6:3,6). What is your life’s dream? When might you enjoy your life’s attainments?
Step 5: Reflect: Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and to be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.