Key Verse: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
Read the Key Verse with your class. Ask your students if they have ever desired the things of this world (everybody does – that’s part of our nature). Is it OK to want stuff, here on this world? (Of course.) The important thing is to not desire things more than pleasing God, and to do what is right according to God’s Word. Should you lie, cheat, or steal to get something? (No.) Should you want what “everybody” else has? (Not if it doesn’t please God.) Because we live on this earth, we have to have “things” to live. But, we have to be content with the things God gives us, and not make “things” as our primary focus. Ask your students if they remember what is to be our “focus” (what we have our eyes set upon – Jesus). We must be careful to not allow the desire for “the whole world” (see memory verse) to keep us from serving and pleasing God. See as King Solomon learned this lesson as we begin Ecclesiastes today.
Summary: Today we begin the fourth of the Personal books, Ecclesiastes. We will take two weeks to study the book. The word, Ecclesiastes, means “the Preacher.” Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon, the man who had it all – riches, fame, rich heritage, a personal relationship with God, and wisdom beyond measure. Yet with all of that, he found that all of life is “vanity and vexation.” (vanity: any thing that is futile, or worthless. vexation: something that disturbs or annoys; to trouble seriously.) He repeats that phrase 7 times in Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 1:14: “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity (emptiness, something unsatisfactory) and vexation of spirit.” Solomon had not learned how to restrain his desires and that was the cause of all of his “vanity and vexation.”
Watch as King Solomon recognized the fool he had become in turning from God. See as Solomon set about to prove he could be happy in this world, but ended up proving the worth of the wisdom from God. He also learned to be careful in his worship of God. Finally, today, we see that man cannot understand God, we just have to fear him. In doing this, we can know him.
Even with all of his wisdom, Solomon did not have all of the answers of life. He wrote this book from a worldly man’s point of view. He tried to make sense of life apart from God, yet couldn’t.
Encourage your students to bring their Bibles and use them!
Emphasis: Man cannot be satisfied with the things of the world. He must seek God, and wisdom from God. We cannot understand God, but “fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
Optional Worksheets to be downloaded:
Ideas for children:
Stickers always work well with children. Often times I watch Wal-Mart or Oriental Trading Company for specials or deals on things I can use for crafts for Sunday School (i.e. foam sheets, Bible Story scene stickers, crowns, stick on jewels, construction paper, etc.). I keep a stash and when I need something, I go search in my stash! Pinterest always has great ideas!
You could have a coloring sheet that goes with the lesson.
One idea for today’s lesson: (See picture below). For today’s lesson I found copy of a treasure box online that we could color, cut out and glue together. We discussed the idea that even with all of the treasures and resources that King Solomon had, he was not happy. He found that he had to seek God first in order to be satisfied. Remind them that gaining a lot of stuff (treasures to us) is not as important as seeking God and pleasing Him. King Solomon learned this the hard way!
Refer to the wall in your classroom that has become a mural.
By now your class should be in a groove as to the direction and areas in which they need to focus and work on to improve their Christian lives. Use this knowledge to help you address specific areas in each lesson that your class can discuss and share as you add new things to your mural. Continue to watch as your class grows in their knowledge of not only God’s Word, but areas in their lives that can be corrected, drawing them closer to the Lord.
Have them each add anything else they may have brought to add to the wall. Encourage everyone to participate.