3 Reasons you should preach through ecclesiastes best ways to make money 9marks

Preaching always means building bridges between the original context of best ways to make money the bible and the context we’re speaking into now. But in my experience, some bridges are a lot easier to build than others. Some books require elaborate, carefully reinforced, golden-gate-style suspension bridges that stretch on for miles. Those challenges are energizing and productive in their own ways. But every now and then I appreciate the chance to best ways to make money simply toss a 2×4 over a creek-bed.

That’s the opportunity ecclesiastes offers you. It’s been called the most contemporary book in the bible, and I think that’s spot on. [1] I don’t mean to undersell the unique challenges this book poses. It’s not always easy to follow, and it’s often difficult to interpret. But so far, there’s not been a preaching series I’ve enjoyed more. Here are a few reasons why:

One of my favorite sections of the book is the best ways to make money opening of chapter 2, where the preacher gives us a catalog of all that best ways to make money he tried in his search for pleasure and meaning in best ways to make money life. It’s a list meant to impress you with the uniqueness best ways to make money of his life. But what’s remarkable to me is how many of the luxuries best ways to make money that made his life exceptional then are now basic expectations best ways to make money of middle-class life.

Many of us could add to our list a host best ways to make money of opportunities he couldn’t have imagined. We have air conditioning. We have international travel. We have access to advanced medical care—not just life-saving treatment but drugs to take away discomforts previous generations best ways to make money took for granted for life. For entertainment, he had private singers. But we have itunes and online streaming. We have televisions, tablets, and smartphones. He never went to disney world or las vegas or best ways to make money the metropolitan museum of art.

The opulence of the preacher’s lifestyle is familiar in the american middle class I best ways to make money belong to. So is his experience of disappointment. In the progress paradox, social commentator gregg easterbrook describes the many ways in which best ways to make money average life in america has improved over the last 50 best ways to make money years or so. Most americans enjoy a quality of life that would have best ways to make money been unimaginable for even the wealthiest americans two hundred years best ways to make money ago. But in all this time, even with all this progress, happiness hasn’t risen in tandem. In fact, easterbrook shows that clinical depression “has been rising in eerie synchronization with rising prosperity,” roughly 10 times the diagnosed cases of 50 years ago. [2]

David gibson describes death in ecclesiastes as the pin that best ways to make money bursts every bubble we might use to shield ourselves from best ways to make money the truth. [3] think of work or money or pleasure as balloons. We fill them with our time and our energy and best ways to make money our hope. For a while we watch them expand. From the outside they look to gain mass and you best ways to make money might even assume weight. But inside it’s only vapor. Death is the needle that shows the truth.

Without the sobering perspective of ecclesiastes, our people might assume they’re dissatisfied because they haven’t arrived yet. They’ll believe the key to their happiness lies in reaching best ways to make money the goals they’ve set for themselves, whatever those might be. They’ll medicate their symptoms by doubling down on their work, their buying, their pleasure-seeking, or whatever else. In other words, they’ll keep blowing more and more air into the balloon. But the problem isn’t what we haven’t achieved. It isn’t that we haven’t arrived. The problem is where we’re going.

Like proverbs, job, and many of the psalms, ecclesiastes belongs among the bible’s wisdom literature. This genre explores what it is to live a good best ways to make money life in the world as it is. It profiles and cultivates an instinct for living well, that is living based on careful observations about how the best ways to make money world works. But ecclesiastes brings a darker shade to the vision of best ways to make money life proverbs pictures for us. The preacher was a wise man who enjoyed the benefits best ways to make money of wisdom proverbs teaches us to expect, and then some.

But now that he’s had everything he wanted, he’s no longer wondering how to make the most out best ways to make money of life. He’s wondering what’s the point, where’s the gain, if you have all the benefits of wisdom but still best ways to make money end up dead? What does it even mean to live a good life best ways to make money if every life ends in the same place as a best ways to make money rat or cockroach or a common housefly (cf. 3:19–22)?

Ecclesiastes is not messianic in the way of isaiah. There are no promises of deliverance to come, no expectation that someone will one day break into the best ways to make money monotonous cycle of vanity and bring something new. But ecclesiastes is messianic in its own way: it sets the context in which the resurrection of jesus best ways to make money makes sense. It prepares us to see why everything is vain if best ways to make money jesus is not alive. So, by contrast, it helps us see how everything matters if jesus is best ways to make money alive.

Knowing paul was a rigorous, well-trained scholar of the hebrew bible, it is not difficult to imagine that he has the best ways to make money message of ecclesiastes in mind as he reflects on the best ways to make money nonnegotiable importance of jesus’s resurrection in 1 corinthians 15: “if christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is best ways to make money in vain” (15:14). He’s telling the corinthians that if jesus is not alive best ways to make money again their faith is just as vain as everything else. It’s as vain as pleasure, as vain as money, as vain as work. It’s just another balloon full of vapor, waiting to burst in time.

We may find jesus’s talk on loving one another inspiring or sentimental. We may find him a helpful guru for insight on best ways to make money making the most of the time we have. We may admire him as a model of a man best ways to make money who stood by his convictions to the end. But if he is reduced to a set of teachings best ways to make money to understand or an example to follow, our faith in him is vain. He is no deliverer, and we are left to face death on our own.

There are a handful of insightful, concise, accessible resources on ecclesiastes with plenty of material you can best ways to make money easily apply in your sermons. My personal favorite is david gibson’s living life backward (crossway: IVP, 2018). Quite apart from its usefulness as a commentary this book best ways to make money is a delight to read. I love its style, its breakdown, its imagery, and its consistently plain relevance for those I’m preaching to.

Gibson’s book has a lot of the qualities you may best ways to make money have appreciated in the works of derek kidner, who also has two helpful books on ecclesiastes. He wrote the volume in the bible speaks today series best ways to make money ( the message of ecclesiastes[IVP, 1976]). And in the wisdom of proverbs, job and ecclesiastes (IVP, 1985) he condenses many of his insights on ecclesiastes while putting best ways to make money that book in helpful comparison to the rest of the best ways to make money wisdom literature.

Finally, sidney greidanus applies his preaching christ from the old testament best ways to make money methodology in preaching christ from ecclesiastes. The flow of thought chapter to chapter is structured around best ways to make money the process he sets out in his book on preaching, which some readers will appreciate more than others. But the insights into the text and the thoughtful connections best ways to make money to jesus were consistently worth my time.

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