Summary: What it is like to be the king

ITs lonely at the top-4 1-16.docx

Ecclesiastes 4:1-16

If I were to ask you to think of someone who is lonely, chances are you would not choose someone who is busy

It is also doubtful that you’d select someone in a top-management position, the CEO or the top salesperson

We might think not them, they are successful, they are fulfilled, they have it made

How can they be lonely with all these people around

Don’t bet on it

More often than not those who find themselves approaching the top of the stepladder of financial success have few friends

Solomon’s favorite word, which he constantly repeats as he admits his frustration is vanity

Although busy, rich, powerful, and famous

Solomon was the personification of boredom and loneliness

Read Verses so that We can Know Him and Make Him Known

1) Oppression—vs. 1-3

a) Solomon witnessed oppression and exploitation in the halls of justice

b) He saw pain and sorrow in the lives of innocent people

c) He noted unconcern on the part of those who could have brought comfort

d) In fact, he said one was better of having never been born at all

e) Some said, “to be without a comforter is worse than death itself”

2) Observation—vs. 4-8

a) Solomon gives us a picture of a competitive person

b) Here is a picture of a man who was not only busy, but he was skillful in his work and competent in all he did

c) He has mastered the techniques of his trade

d) So much for the worker’s hands but how about his heart

e) The only reason these people perfected their skills and worked hard at their jobs was to compete with others and make more money than their neighbors

f) Solomon saw a “dog-eat-dog” mentality

g) It’s a maddening and vicious craze to outdo and outshell the other guy at any cost

h) The idea of covetousness and competition and envy often go together

i) Competition is not sinful in itself but when “being first” is more important than being honest, there will be trouble

j) Solomon is describing the outworking of carnal savage-level selfishness

k) Solomon also see a person who is complacent-vs.5

l) Laziness is a slow comfortable path toward self-destruction

m) Prov. 6:10-11—” “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest”— Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.

n) 2 Thess. 3:10—” For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

o) Here is a person motivated by pleasure and headed for ruin

p) From one extreme to another

q) Solomon also sees a contented man in vs. 6

r) The key word is balanced

s) Many are caught in the “rat race” and don’t know how to escape

t) Why have both hands full of profit it that profit cost you your peace of mind and possibly your health

u) When a heart is controlled by envy and rivalry life becomes one battle after another

v) 1 Tim. 6:6—” But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

w) The competitive person thinks that money will bring him peace, but he has not time to enjoy it

x) The complacent person thinks that doing nothing will bring him peace but his lifestyle destroys him

y) The contented person enjoys both his labors and the fruit of it and balances work with rest

z) “you can take what you want from life but you must pay for it”

aa) Prov. 15:16-17—” Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it. Better is a dish of vegetables where love is Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

bb) Prov. 16:8—” Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice.

cc) I believe a person’s work can become his enemy

dd) It’s no longer satisfying—it’s now demanding

ee) This is why Solomon says, “better is a little, better is a hand full of contentment, love, and tranquility than two fists that keep fighting”

ff) You may make it to the top but your loneliness borders the unbearable

gg) The Crazy and Confused person—vs. 7-8

hh) Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living”

ii) The confused and crazy person never stops long enough to ask himself “for who am I working so hard? Why am I robbing myself of the enjoyments of life just to amass more and more money”

jj) This particular man had no relatives or partners to help him in his business nor did he desire any help

kk) He wanted all the profit for himself

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