Today’s Scripture Focus: Ecclesiastes 5:8-15
Solomon was Israel’s wealthiest king. This gave him a unique perspective, as only someone who has been wealthy can understand what it is like to have more money than one can spend—the rest of us can only speculate! The Teacher of Ecclesiastes speaks from the perspective of someone who “has it all” – money, power, family, pleasure. King Solomon certainly fit the bill on all of those. In fact, his story in I Kings tells us that he accumulated literal hoards of horses, gold, and wives—more than he could ever use! In Ecclesiastes, the Teacher is able to speak from experience, rather than speculation, as to what great wealth brings to a person.
Today’s scripture focus deals with the love of money. It begins be addressing the corruption that results from greed. Verse 8 talks about the “higher ones” that oppress the poor and thwart justice. Today we might call them the “higher ups”. People who rise to power generally do so because they are ambitious, and don’t mind stepping on those below them in the pursuit of wealth or power. The Teacher tells his audience not to bother worrying about such things—it’s always going to be that way, no matter what, and in the end everyone benefits from those who pursue wealth—there would be no field to plow without them.
In verses 10-15 we see the dilemma for such “higher ones”, however. Since they love money, they can never be happy because you never have enough of what you love. Therefore when they make money, they can’t enjoy it. As money increases, so do responsibilities, worries, and fears. Work increases with more wealth, rather than decreases. Field laborers are able to sleep at night, but not so the owner of the land. What’s more, those who love money often lose it in their greedy plots to get more, leaving them with no more to show for what they’ve done in their death than when they were born.
John Wesley had a great philosophy towards wealth. He encouraged those who were converted under his ministry—many of them former alcoholics who suddenly weren’t spending their entire day’s pay at the tavern—to “make all you can, save all you can, give all you can”. Money is a great servant and a horrible master. With money, we can do much more for God and others than we can do without it. However, when we pursue money, possessions, and power for their own sake, we end up with debt, worry, health problems, and a lot of sleepless nights. By pursuing God rather than money, we trade what we cannot keep for what we cannot lose.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Has money ever been a source of worry in your life? Is simply having more money the solution to most people’s problems, or is it more complicated than that?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?