Envy, Companionship, and Futility of Power

Study Guide

In this passage, Solomon addresses the emptiness of envy, our need for companionship, and the reality that status is unstable. While we are naturally bent to pursue things like power, money, and success, nothing will fulfill the longing of our souls. The only true joy can be found in a life hidden in Christ.
  1. We all live in the tension of navigating the reality and demands of work along with the need to nourish our souls so the Holy Spirit can speak into our lives. What does it look like to live with “one handful of quietness” and “one handful of work”? Consider what drains you as well as what provides true rest and rejuvenation.

  2. Because we are made in God’s image, we are designed for relationship. Think about the relationships in your life—how do they help you process the world? No matter what season of life you are in, how can you honor God through your relationships?

  3. In order to become wise, we must realize that we are not. What are some specific ways you can embrace this posture of humility in your everyday life? In what situations should you be more willing to listen and ask questions?

Key Points
  • Solomon observes that many people are motivated by envy. However, pursuing success because you see others experiencing it will leave you empty and without identity.

  • For many, finding fulfillment in work is a natural drive. Those who are bent this way must be intentional about creating rhythms of rest, recreation, and rejuvenation. It takes faith to step back and trust in God’s ability to provide.

  • God created us for relationship, to be in community. We need one another to process the world around us, and God works in our lives through community.

  • In order to become wise, you must acknowledge that you are not. It is particularly easy for those with life experience to disregard what others say. But we must adopt a posture of humility and be open to learning from others.

  • Believers live in a dual reality. While the here and now may seem real and big, our invisible, eternal identity in Christ is the most important thing about us.

  • Jesus came from glory to live a small life for us, so we can be content and live small lives—looking forward to eternity with him.

Other Scripture References

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:4-16