Is there any Profit
The book of Ecclesiastes is an interesting book in the Bible. The wisest man that ever lived wrote this book, but we must remember that it was written from the viewpoint of man. In this lesson we are going to look at the first question that Solomon asks in the book of Ecclesiastes to learn some principles that we can apply to our lives today.
In verse 2 &3 there seems to be a contradiction made by Solomon. Note that he says all is vanity and then ask the question is there any profit. Let us look at the definitions of profit and vanity and the contradiction may be a little clearer.
Vanity – Empty, worthless, having no substance of value.
Profit – to benefit, to advantage, to improve or advance.
If everything is worthless or vanity as Solomon says in verse 2 then how could there be any profit for man. Let us look at some other times Solomon uses the word profit in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 2:11 ; 5:5-16 ; 7:11 ; Proverbs 14:23). While these may seem like they are back and forth on the matter, there is something we must consider. Even though Solomon is writing Ecclesiastes from the viewpoint of man, he still understands things from the viewpoint of God. And while from the viewpoint of man there is really no profit or point of our labor since we leave it all behind when we die, there is profit from the viewpoint of serving God.
The thing we must do is to allow God to be our teacher of what is profitable (Isaiah 48:17). We understand that doing spiritual things is profitable, but can worldly things be profitable unto God. If a person is doing what God would have them to do whether they are in the ministry full time or they have a profession in the world they both be very profitable unto God. God can use saved lawyers, doctors, mechanics, teachers etc. just as he can preachers and teachers. The trick is let God teach us what is profitable.
Somethings that the Bible says are profitable
1) Godliness (1 Timothy 4:8)
- Note that this verse says that Godliness is profitable unto all things. Godliness in your life will cause you to profit whether it is at work or school or church. Just remember from our definition there is more ways to prosper than with money.
2) The Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16)
- The word of God is what teaches us to have Godliness in all things. Have you ever Considered your Bible to be the most valuable things you own?
3) People (2 Timothy 4:11)
- In this verse Paul says that Mark is profitable to him in the ministry. People can either be a profit to you or a liability to you. Think about someone with a business. There employees are what make their money. They themselves can only work so many hours in the day. Employees will either be profitable or unprofitable. You friend will either lift you up or take you down. You must decide if you want to profit.
4) Good works (Titus 3:8)
- Sometimes we need to help others or do something for them when there is no apparent good in it for us because we never know what may happen down the road or when we will need help.
- There is a worldly saying that a good man returns a favor, but a wise man pays it forward. There is some truth in this saying that we could learn from.
5) Chastisement (Hebrews 12:10)
- While it is not fun it is profitable unto us in more ways than just one.
The Key to Being Profitable (Hebrews 4:12)
While the verse from Hebrews is dealing with salvation we are going to take a principle from it. Many here the gospel and refuse salvation because it is not mixed with faith. The key then is to have faith.
In the list of things from above that are profitable it will take faith to do those things because the profit is not seen immediately. So faith is the key to being profitable to God.
Is there any Profit : Handout
1) What is unique about the two verse for our study?
2) Define Vanity and Profit
3) How can we learn to be profitable?
4) Make a chain reference for the God says is profitable.
5) What is the key to being profitable?