March 1 - Discovering Joy in God's Gifts - Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:9
Prepare for Sunday morning worship by using the guide below
For those interested in joining Christ Covenant, classes will be held in Adult 1 at 10:00am on Sundays from March 1-April 26 (excluding April 12). If you would like to become a member or learn more about CCC, please plan to attend these Sunday morning sessions as this is a necessary step towards membership.
Also, Keith Smith & Daniel Harman will be teaching an 8-week class on Parenting meeting in the Multi-Purpose room at 10am, March 1st through April 26th.
Unreached People Group
In our Sunday gathering this week, we will be praying for the Urdu in Saudi Arabia.
If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.
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? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.
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. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life's good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?
All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
After the preacher calls us to worship God (5:17), he now turns to warn us of a deep and present danger to fearing God. The threat to fearing God is loving money and the things that money can buy. We go from the joy of God in worship back into the world with its dangers and temptations. The Christian is not immune to the temptations to greed while living under the sun. Forgiven sinners still live in exile and are tempted with desires for 'just one more.' The presence of greed is not easy to determine in our lives. There are always plenty of people with more, and so we think better of ourselves. Yet if we consider the devotion, the concern, the love, the attention and passion that occupy our thoughts over wealth, money and possessions, then perhaps this is more of an issue we originally thought. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, 'you cannot worship God and mammon or money'. The preacher will help us see and enjoy God not only in worship but in the world of money.
Review and Apply
How have you considered (if ever) the oppression in society over greed (Think Bernie Madoff/Enron)?
In your own life, how have you found more (of money, success, achievements, possessions) to not satisfy?
How does increased money and goods increase worry and anxiety?
In what ways does money tempt you to overlook true treasure?
What are other dangers in trusting in wealth an increase personal to you?
How can you better find enjoyment in the gifts of God?
How can your brother or sister help you see that 'God keeps you occupied with joy in your heart?
How does this text lead you to freedom and worship of Jesus?