Introduction: What do you most enjoy in life? What, for you, makes
life worth living? Do you enjoy your prosperity? King Solomon is
again ranting about how sad life can be, but our goal this week is to
consider what Solomon says and uncover what we can learn from it to
improve our life and our outlook on life. Let’s dive right into our

  1. Enjoying Your Possessions

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 6:1-2. Solomon says that an evil exists,
      an evil which is depressing a lot of people. What is that
      evil? (God gives a person wealth, possessions and honor,
      but he is not able to enjoy them.)

      1. The text says a “stranger” enjoys them. How can a
        stranger enjoy your wealth, possessions and honor?
        (This person must not have any children. Perhaps
        another person takes over the company and enjoys the
        company’s reputation and profits.)

      2. If this person is not lacking anything his heart
        desires, how can he not enjoy his blessings? (Death,
        illness, dementia.)

      3. Do you agree with Solomon that this is an evil?

        1. Is it one that is depressing you?

        2. If so, what answer to you have to avoid this
          depressing truth? (Eternal life.)

    2. Read Ecclesiastes 6:3. What significance do you find in
      this man not having a proper burial? (He has a hundred
      children, but they neither love nor care enough to make
      sure he is properly buried.)

      1. Whose fault is that? The father or the children?
        (Something must be amiss with “dad,” if he cannot
        connect in a meaningful way with just one or two of
        his hundred children. How could you sire a hundred
        rotten children? When Solomon says a hundred
        children, he must be exaggerating to make a point.)

      2. Solomon uses this phrase, “enjoy your prosperity.”
        What do you think Solomon means when he writes “enjoy
        your prosperity?”

        1. Is he talking about being content?

        2. Is he talking about taking time to “stop and
          smell the roses?”

        3. Is he talking about paying attention to what is
          important in life: i.e., your 100 children?

        1. Is he talking about a personality which is

        2. Is he talking about a person who understands
          God’s plan for life, and thus “gets” what life
          is about?

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 6:4-6. How does this text describe a
      still-born (miscarried, aborted) child? (That child comes
      and goes in darkness. It never has an opportunity to have
      meaning in life. The reference to the name being covered
      in darkness is a reference to the Jewish practice of not
      naming miscarried babies on the assumption this allows
      parents to overcome grief more easily.)

      1. How is this unfortunate man and a “still-born” child
        the same?

      2. Solomon tells us the two have the same destination?
        You agree?

      3. Solomon even says ( Ecclesiastes 6:3)the still-born
        child is better off? Do you agree? (Solomon says
        having no meaning in your life, or a negative
        meaning, is worse than never having lived. Never
        living gives you “rest.” I would ask Solomon: “How
        much rest do you need? The person who is born has
        every opportunity to live a meaningful life.”)

  1. Advantages in Life

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 6:7. Is this true for you? (In some
      areas of the world the main point of work is to feed
      yourself. However, a small percentage of my earnings goes
      for food and that is true for many areas of the world.)

    2. Add your brain into Solomon’s statement. “All man’s
      efforts are for his mouth and his brain.” Is that
      modified statement true for you? (All work is for self-gratification, and your self-gratification is never

      1. If all work is to satisfy your cravings – which are
        never satisfied, what is wrong with that? That makes
        you a productive citizen, right? (You never get to a
        point where you say, “It feels good to have
        accomplished my goal.)

    3. Read Ecclesiastes 6:8. What reason would you have to
      conduct yourself properly before cultured people? (You do
      not want to be embarrassed by seeming to lack something:
      class, education or culture. Even if you do lack these
      things, you don’t want it to be obvious because that would
      cause others to look down on you.)

      1. Now answer Solomon’s question: what do you gain by
        behaving in a socially correct way? (You get the
        approval of others and you avoid embarrassment.)

        1. So what? Why do you care about the approval of
          those who are your educational or social
          “superiors?” (I think Solomon’s point is that if
          you are at peace with yourself and your “rank”
          in life, then you will not be striving to
          impress others of “higher” rank.)

    4. Read Ecclesiastes 6:9. Compare what you see with what you
      would like to see? (This is Solomon’s version of the old
      saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
      What you can see right now is better than what you would
      like to see.)

      1. Is this Solomon’s answer to the questions in
        Ecclesiastes 6:8? (Yes. His message is to be content
        with what you have.)

      2. What is the difference between being lazy and having
        no goals, and being content? (I am at that point in
        my life when I am looking at the “end game.” I could
        stop or coast right now and anyone would say that I
        had a productive, meaningful life. The problem is, I
        still have hopes, dreams and goals. Solomon may think
        this is a problem, and maybe I will agree with him
        one day. But, right now I’m glad my views have not
        changed since I was 25-years old.)

    5. Read Ecclesiastes 6:10. Solomon tells us that everything
      has been named. Was he right?

      1. What is Solomon’s point? (That if you are out to
        explore and “name” things after you, it has already
        been done. Forget the idea that you will make a name
        for yourself.)

      2. Why does Solomon write about fighting against one who
        is stronger than you? (Again, this is counsel not to
        strive for big goals.)

      3. I read Solomon as saying “Don’t try to change things.
        Accept things the way they are and be done with it.”
        Do you agree? (I do not agree. If I’m rebelling
        against God’s order of things, I would agree with
        Solomon. But, if I’m trying to make the world a
        better place, then Solomon’s attitude is a waste of
        his life, money, power and brains. Ask me this
        question again when I’m about to die.)

  2. Life Formula

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 6:11. Over my years of practicing law,
      I’ve noticed an unusual thing: courts seem to want to hear
      less and less from lawyers. In American federal courts,
      they have page limits for briefs that are getting shorter
      and shorter. Fewer motions are orally argued. It is
      possible to litigate a case to a conclusion and never even
      see the judge! Have the judges been reading Ecclesiastes
      6:11? What do you think is the point Solomon is trying to
      make? Do you agree with it? (Being forced to shorten a
      brief makes you more careful about its organization. It
      takes more work to write something succinctly.)

    2. Read Ecclesiastes 6:12. The commentary, Be Satisfied,
      quotes British poet Joseph Addison as saying “The grand
      essentials to happiness in this life are something to do,
      someone to love, and something to hope for.” Is the answer
      to Solomon’s question: “Who knows what is good for a man
      in life?” “Mr. Addison!”

      1. What is the answer to the final question: “Who can
        tell him what will happen under the sun after he is
        gone?” (Since we recently studied the book of Daniel,
        the prophet Daniel is one answer.)

        1. Does it matter what happens on earth after you
          die? (If you leave behind people that you love,
          the answer is that just as you trusted God with
          your life, so you can trust God with the lives
          of those you love and leave behind.)

    3. Friend, Solomon’s conclusion is to be content with your
      life. I suggest a little discontent, a hope for a better
      future, makes getting up in the morning more exciting.
      What do you say?

  3. Next week: God Made Man Upright? What Happened?