Better Than Wealth, Prosperity & Fame
01 August 2021 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev Adrian Ng
Scripture Passage: Ecclesiastes 4:1-16 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Sufficiency, friendships and wisdom are better than wealth and fame.
The Teacher weaves between wisdom and the realities of life with the goal to help us understand that a life defined by earthly wisdom, pursuits, materialism and wealth is futile, for worldly goods are never good enough. Human desire to place all hope in achievement through work is often met with dashed dreams and disappointment, as we are learning in these Covid times.
Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 laments the despair of uncomforted oppression, and preferring nonexistence over existence. Like animals, they slave and they die (Ecc 3:18-20).
Therefore, don’t put all your hopes in work.
- Better less but adequate than none or much, for much is never enough. Verses 4-6 advise working to provide sufficient against idleness or overwork. Sadly, Singapore has been polled to be among the most overworked and unhappiest workforce globally.
- Better to invest in relationships than to be rich and lonely (vv7-8). Without family or friends, for whom does a lone person toil?
- Better to be in a community than being solo; solo Christianity does not exist (vv 9-12). Two are better than one, to provide support and to counter isolation and loneliness. A threefold cord is not quickly broken (v12).
- Better meekness than working for fame and recognition (vv13-16). Better to be born poor and wise than to end up old and foolish.
The good things in life are not rated by price or scarcity; rather, loving God and one another is highly valued in the kingdom stratum, above seeking satisfaction in earthly fame and success. People strive to outdo one another as individuals, generations, and nations. Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us that treasures on earth can be destroyed and stolen but treasures stored in heaven are both indestructible and heart-binding.
Heavenly Father, help us to humble ourselves, recognise how lost we are, to learn to discern heavenly treasures, and turn our hearts back to You, to bring pleasure to You.
(Sermon Notes by Kwun Pillai)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Describe a time where you found yourself sincerely working hard for something, but came up to nothing. What did it make you realise?
2. How do you relate to Ecc 4:6? Would you agree that its better to settle for slightly less or push yourself to achieve more?
3. If you were to choose between wealth and family, which will you prioritise? Looking back in life – how would people around you describe your choices? (Ecc 4:8)
4. Do you think spiritual community and relationships are important? Why? Will you be such a person to someone? (Ecc 4:9-12)
5. Is fame and legacy important to you? What would you like to be remembered as? (Ecc 4:13-16)
6. What is better than Work, Wealth, Prosperity & Fame? (According to the sermon & text)