Practical Lessons from Ecclesiastes (Part 3)

Our next practical lesson from Ecclesiastes is this:

Ecclesiastes 4:6 - "Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind."
Here Solomon seems to be calling for a balance between working too hard physically and working too little. This is yet another inequality of life. The wise king observed that the one who works himself to death is never satisfied (even when he has no dependents) and isn't any better off really than the fool who is so lazy he "consumes his own flesh." Friends, we too must learn to be content (cf. Phil. 4:11). Let us find satisfaction in the simple things in life and not waste our days striving to get "both hands full" with materialistic pursuits. Such is like trying to catch the wind and sure to lead one down the path of destruction (cf. I Tim. 6:6ff).

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Solomon mentions several benefits of good companionship. Primarily, work is more productive and there is mutual care, warmth, and safety.

Ecclesiastes 5:1,2 - "Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few."
When one worships the Almighty, he must especially be "swift to hear" and "slow to speak" (James 1:19). What does Solomon mean when he refers to "the sacrifice of fools"? Contextually, the answer would have to be the babbling of their mouths, which is an offering of vain worship! The wise king exhorts us to remember our proper position before God. When it comes to prayer, do not be hasty in speech. God wants us to give serious thought to what we are going to say. God is great in heaven and we are weak on Earth. This is why Solomon recommends that we speak little and listen much. Many words and hasty ones, used in prayer, show folly in the heart, little respect for God, and carelessness regarding our own souls. And if you make a vow, keep it! Be a person of your word (cf. Matt. 5:37; Psa. 15:4).

Ecclesiastes 5:10 - "He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity."
Solomon has much to say about the vanity of physical wealth. In spite of the fact that earthly treasures are futile, most still pursue them vigorously. Solomon supplies many reasons why wealth is vain:

One should learn to enjoy what he has and what he does. Be content with what God has given you. Man should find satisfaction not in laziness but in labor. One who heeds this advice will not be discontented or depressed thinking about life for he will be too busy living it joyfully!