Take time to introduce yourselves to one another (over drinks or snacks if possible). Then ask group members to answer this question:
Over the course of this term, we’re exploring the ancient book of Ecclesiastes. Though Ecclesiastes comes from a very different culture and time to ours, it touches on some of the most profound issues of humanity.
Ask for a volunteer to read Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8 to the group, praying a short prayer that, however much they’ve come to know God, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
You can download this video to watch offline.
Suggested questions to help your discussion.
The Teacher adds a warning at the end of 11:9. But what does it mean?
He has been reminding us of the need to remember God our Creator, with an underlying theme of enjoying life whilst we can. It could be that, in this verse, he adds a caveat: that living on the wild side comes with consequence. We will one day be judged.
It is certainly true that judgement awaits those who pursue unwise and destructive pleasures. But this is probably not the best way of understanding this verse. In the words of David Gibson:
“It is much more likely that the Teacher is actually including our enjoyment of God’s world, or lack of it, as one of the things that God will call to account in his final reckoning. We have already seen how enjoyment is a gift from God and, like all his gifts, we are responsible to God for what we have done with it… Pleasure is a divine decree that we ignore at our pleasure. For it is precisely in enjoying the world that God has made that we show how we have grasped the goodness of the God we say we love.”
Ask each group member to read Isaiah 46:4 aloud, one after the other.
Use this verse a basis for a time of open prayer. Don’t force people, but encourage all who feel able to pray that they’d trust God’s as you age.
You could also include a time praying for elderly relatives, especially those who are struggling.
There are unique benefits to following Jesus where we are young. David Murray outlines four benefits of ‘remembering our Creator in the days of our youth’:
Pray that God would help you to remember these benefits yourself. Then pray for friends who don’t know Jesus. Pray they’d not only come to meet him someday, but in the days of their youth.
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