Enjoying Your Sandcastles: Ecclesiastes 2:12-26 & Other Scriptures

Sermon Overview:
In the first twelve verses of Ecclesiastes 2, we read of a life lived to the full as far as pleasure, possessions, and productivity are concerned. God cares about how we work, and God gives us good things and good times. However, when our focus on the good things in life does not account for God’s promises, purposes and His presence, we will find even the best of things to be unsatisfying in the end. While there is much about King Solomon’s test of absolute pleasure that we would not agree with (700 wives, 300 concubines), there is much that we can relate to. We generally like to feel good, to gain satisfaction from our work, and to enjoy good things, be it family, food, friendships, hobbies, or anything else!
But this world is not meant to provide the kind of absolute satisfaction that is accessible only by a grace-through-faith relationship with our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. This is a world in which we will soon be forgotten. We will soon leave every good thing behind. This applies to those who live well and those who live foolishly. Whether we die with a million dollars or a pile of change to our name, we cannot stop the tidal wave of death from crashing onto the shore that we stand on today. In that sense, our life is like a sandcastle. However beautiful or tiny, all sandcastles wash away when the waves come to shore. Unless the Lord Jesus returns during our time on earth, a wave is marked out in the future for each of us, rolling somewhere out in the ocean of the future. Some of us have the opportunity to see this tidal wave coming, and others are suddenly surprised by it. 
You can deal with this fact, and the fact that you will leave all good things behind, by either despairing, which Solomon did at first, or by concluding that life can in fact be enjoyable, which Solomon did after he hit rock bottom. God is gracious to us right here, right now. The conditions of that grace are that we please Him, which of course we could never do in our sin, and so we instead rest our hope in the only one who could please God – the God-man named Jesus. By belonging to Jesus, every good experience becomes a glimpse into the heavenly future that we long for. In fact, we come to see that the good things of earth grow brighter, while the bag things of earth grow dimmer, in the light of Jesus Christ and his salvation. The best days here are just a foretaste of eternity to come. And so Solomon says that we should eat and drink and find enjoyment in what we do, as this is from God’s hand.
Questions/Discussion Points: 
Read Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
Hear this statement: “God wants you to really, truly enjoy good things.” Do you find that hard or easy to accept? Why?
What are some of your favorite things to enjoy? What do these things reveal to you about who God is?
Joy is meant to be shared (remember Philippians?). How does hoarding good things for self actually decrease our joy in life?
Do you truly believe that your place and position in life are from God’s hand and part of his plan for you? How could this affect your approach to your work and other callings?
Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19
In the end, we are rewarded with more than we can imagine, most of all the presence and love of Jesus forever. How might our best times on earth shape  our view of heaven?

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