This is lesson 3 of 6 in Good Work, a bible study on the gift of work.
- Main Point of the Passage: The Preacher (probably Solomon) pondered the futility of wealth and the joy that comes from work.
- Main Point of the Lesson: The satisfaction we find in work is more meaningful than the income we earn from it.
- Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will take more satisfaction in their work than the income they earn from it.
- Key Verse: “Here is what I have seen to be good: It is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward.” Ecclesiastes 5:18
To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.
Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.
Smile Question: What’s the best food you can cook without looking at a recipe?
Share Question: What is the most satisfying part of your job? Of course, that includes unpaid work like being a student or parent.
Introduce the Passage: The satisfaction we find in work is more meaningful than the income we earn from it. In Ecclesiastes 5:10–20, the Preacher (probably Solomon) pondered the futility of wealth and the joy that comes from work.
Study Question: Let’s read Ecclesiastes 5:10–20 and look for answers to this question: why did Solomon think the satisfaction we find in work is more meaningful than the income we earn from it?
Possible answers include:
- A person who loves wealth will never be satisfied by it (v. 10)
- “When good things increase, the ones who consume them multiply” (v. 11)
- “The abundance of the rich permits him no sleep” (v. 12)
- Keeping wealth can harm its owner (v. 13)
- Wealth can be lost in a bad venture (v. 14)
- Wealth can’t be taken to the grave (vv. 15–16)
- Struggling for wealth can make life miserable (v. 17)
- The experience of eating, drinking and working is its own reward (v. 18)
- Rejoicing in your labor is a gift from the Lord (v. 19-20)
Connect-the-Dots Question: Income is part of the motivation for nearly every job we ever perform. And according to verse 19, that’s not a bad thing. What might be a sign that you’re focusing too much on the income you earn (or may earn in the future)?
Count-the-Cost Question: Think about a time when you took a job mainly because you needed the money. Could you find any wisdom in this passage that would have helped you during that time?
Let’s-Do-It Question: How can you find more satisfaction in the work you currently do?
Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of work. Teach us to find satisfaction, not only in the income we receive, but also in the work we perform. Amen.