Read Ecclesiastes 6:1-6
6 I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2 God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. 5 Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man—6 even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?
What is something that gives you a real sense of satisfaction in life?
What evil did Solomon notice? (6:1-2)
Why might the person who earned the wealth be unable to enjoy it, while someone who did not earn is able to enjoy it?
How should a person enjoy his or her possessions?
What impact does the brevity of life have on you?
What is something you want to change about your life-style in light of the brevity of life?
How can you better enjoy the things that God has given you?
“6:1 an evil. When riches increase, there is a temptation to rest our hearts on them rather than the Lord and His gifts.
6:2 God does not give him power to enjoy them. Riches, wealth, and honor are God’s gifts. He desires that we serve His kingdom and our neighbors with His gifts. The ability to enjoy God’s blessings is a bonus—a gift of God, not a right or guarantee. God calls that person a fool who forgets this truth.
6:3 Life is not meaningless. Life is a gift of the Lord. not satisfied. Silver and gold may fill our hands but not our souls. no burial. The burial of an unbeliever appears little different from that of a dumb animal. stillborn child. (Psalm 58:8)
6:5 Solomon asserts that the stillborn child has more rest than a covetous miser. seen the sun. Luth: “[This is] Hebrew for ‘to enjoy things and take pleasure in them.’ … Thus the wicked begin their hell in this life, because they are deprived of the use of all the creatures and gifts of God, so that they never see the sun, which we nevertheless have every day. In other words, they do not rejoice in the gifts of God but are always looking for something else” (AE 15:96, 97). Cf Numbers 6:25.
6:6 The grave is the end, no matter if the person lives a thousand years or one hour. This begs the question, “Is there life after this life?”
5:8–6:12 In the latter part of ch 5, Solomon shows how to make a comfortable use of God’s gifts. In ch 6, he shows the evil uses of wealth and asks, “Will the amassing of wealth bring happiness?” What person is better for his or her wealth, pleasure, and honor when standing before God at the final judgment? Jesus Christ is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). He is the author and perfecter of our faith, so that we do not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrew 12:2–3).”
Engelbrecht, Edward A. The Lutheran Study Bible. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009.
O God of all comfort, by Your Word and Holy Spirit grant us a firm, glad, and grateful faith, that by it we may overcome every trial and at length hear the Word of Your dear Son: “Take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Amen.