The countdown is about ready to start,
and soon you’ll be able to order your very own copy of this book. It won’t be in time for Christmas, it should be here by early January, I hope. Here are a couple of sneak previews of the front cover and inside…
FROM CHAPTER ONE
The book of Proverbs shows us that Solomon could be very practical when he chose. But in
Ecclesiastes, he deals with pictures. What picture are you seeing by now in these first eleven verses?
Solomon is undoubtedly
exaggerating for the sake of effect.
He is using drab, clashing colors. He is deliberately painting a depressing, ugly picture, splashing his paint here and there like a five-year-old. Why? Because to the natural man—the man without God—that is what life is like. He is going to enlarge on this further as we continue, but remember that statement. It is a key to understanding
So in this passage, Solomon points out the uselessness of creativity, something that he especially enjoyed. Do you want to write a book? It’s already been written by someone else, and he’s done a better job at it than you ever could. Besides, that book has already
been forgotten and so has its author. The same thing will happen to you. It’s no use trying to create something new or beautiful. No one will appreciate it. You’re just wasting your time. You’re just a part of the meaningless cycle the universe is stuck in.
FROM CHAPTER THREE
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a fable about a scarecrow. A farmer dressed the scarecrow in a magnificent military uniform and put shiny boots on his feet, then set him up in a field of strawberries. The scarecrow looked down at his fancy clothing after the farmer went home, and his chest puffed out in pride. (Remember, I said it was a fable!) He decided to walk into town so people could admire his impressive clothing. He came to a house party hosted by the town’s leading citizens and walked in. All the people flocked around him and told him how handsome he was. If it had taken place today, they would have taken selfies with him. It was a grand party while it lasted.
But the scarecrow happened to see himself in a mirror hanging on the wall. He was Stuffed with straw. He had a carrot nose, two pebbles for eyes, and a broomstick for a backbone. He shrank in horror from his reflection. He fled from the house and ran for the “safety” of his field. He was just a scarecrow, no matter what other people said of him.
I think that somewhat describes what happened to Solomon when he got around to really looking at himself. Remember, without God, you are only a scarecrow. Other scarecrows may flock around you and compliment you. They will especially enjoy the money you spend on them. Nothing is more riotous than a gathering of scarecrows. But you will never find meaning in life by partying with scarecrows.
SAMPLE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Materialism without God
• One man said that materialism is not when we have things, but when things have us. How do you see this portrayed in this passage?
• Most of us live in a society that owns many things. How can we decide when ownership becomes materialism and when possessions become idols?
Then I Considered…
• Why might it be a good thing for you to list your accomplishments, like Solomon did here?
• Take an honest look at yourself. In what ways are you like the scarecrow in Hawthorne’s fable? What can you do about these areas in your life?