Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12: What Does It Take to Be Content?
If the advertisers are right, we have a lot to feel discontent about. We don't have enough possessions, and we don't have them soon enough or up to date enough. Fulfillment is equated with wearing the right kind of clothes, driving the right kind of car, drinking the right kind of beverage. This lifestyle of discontent held similar sway for many of the Teacher's contemporaries. In this section he challenges his reader to stop seeking satisfaction from accumulating things. Instead he offers an alternative, one that leads to a lifestyle of contentment.
Warming Up to God
In what areas of life do you find yourself least content? Consider Psalm 118:24: "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." For what do you have reason to rejoice today? Praise your God, the Lover of your soul, today before you look into his Word.
Discovering the Word
- How does the Teacher describe the nature of wealth?
- What negative effects does the desire for wealth have in public life (5:8-9) and in personal life (5:10-17)?
- Note the contrast between 5:18-20 and 6:1-2. What role does God have in the satisfaction which wealth, possessions and honor can bring?
- Many children and a long life were considered the greatest of blessings in the Old Testament (6:3-6). What does our society define as "the good life"?
- In 6:7-12 the Teacher uses questions to challenge his readers. How would the questions challenge an unbeliever (see especially v. 12)?
Applying the Word
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being very little, 10 being very much), how would you rate your attachment to the things you own?
- Give an example of how viewing possessions as a gift from God would help to change your attachment to them.
- How could you exercise trust in God for an area in which you lack contentment?
Responding in Prayer
Confess any discontent to God and ask him to help you value his goodness and sufficiency.