Contentment is a gift of God. Seven times in the book of Ecclesiastes we are told here is the one thing the writer has found to be good in life. The question for us is can our quest for meaning and anxiety for significance ever find contentment? [Audio | Notes]
For further thought
It is worth reading the wider context of Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 from 5:8 where the writer describes the things that cause discontent.
Q: Discuss a list of the things that cause discontent from verse 8 tot 17. Are these relevant to you?
Q: In verse 18, to eat and to drink is not only to take pleasure in the food and drink we have but also the company we share it with. Likewise with the work of our days – there can be satisfaction in the work itself but the satisfaction is increased by sharing the work with others. Why is it that part of enjoyment is sharing the joy with others? What are the differences between personal and social media sharing of our joys?
Q: In verse 19, as we have already seen in chapter 5, God may give wealth but not the ability to enjoy it. Q: What stops us enjoying our wealth? What stops us being able to accept our lot and being happy in our toil? Does this verse demotivate us for achievement?
Q: Happiness or joy in simple things is seven times said to be a work of God in Ecclesiastes. Therefore it is not meaningless or passing as our works can be. Where do you find simple joys and contentment with thankfulness? How can you highlight these things in your life over time?