About 3 weeks into my first full-time ministry, the pastor came to me and asked if I would teach his Sunday School class while he was out of the country. I gladly took the opportunity. He was teaching Ecclesiastes and told me to pick up at chapter nine. I began preparing and decided to share this outline with you.
We all are going to die. With that in mind, Ecclesiastes 9 gives us some practical advice about what to do while we are still living.
- Remember that God is in control of everything (v. 1).
- Realize that none of us is exempt from death (vv. 2, 3).
- Take hold of the hope of living before there is no more opportunity (vv. 4-6). Ephesians 5:16 also reminds us to make the most of every opportunity (redeeming the time) because the days are evil.
- Enjoy life (vv. 7, 8), specifically your possessions (v. 7) and your purity (v. 8). You can enjoy your possessions when you have earned them and your purity because it is truly a gift from God when you choose to please Him. Nothing beats a clean conscience.
- Enjoy your love (v. 9) – the writer speaks of enjoying the wife of your youth all the days of your life.
- Enjoy your labor (v. 10) – Colossians 3:23, 24 tells us to do what we do with our whole heart as to the Lord and not men, knowing that God rewards it. On a practical note, you can enjoy your labor when you choose a profession that you were designed to fulfill. You will be frustrated when you operate outside your giftedness.
- Expect disappointments (vv. 11, 12). Things don’t always happen as we expect. God warns us throughout Scripture that bad times will come. Just don’t be so pessimistic as the lady in the Disney movie “Summer Magic” who said, “I always expect the worst, and I’ve never been disappointed.”
- Pursue wisdom while you still can (vv. 13-18). Wisdom makes no sense in the world’s eyes (vv. 13-15). First Corinthians also reiterated that God uses what man would normally discard. Wisdom also knows when it needs to keep its mouth shut (vv. 16, 17). Finally, wisdom exceeds material things (v. 18). I would much rather have wisdom than anything this world offers.
The book of Ecclesiastes is a rich book that reminds us how futile and vain life really is. It also reminds us to pursue what really matters. If you have not studied this book of the Bible, I encourage you to do so. You will benefit more than you realize. Take the challenge!