My dear friend Stephanie Shott not only knows what matters most, she also lives her life for what truly matters most. Now, Stephanie is sharing what God has taught her about living a life that counts in her new Bible study “Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most.” Today, we get to talk with Stephanie.
Stephanie, how will your new Bible study through Ecclesiastes help women live for eternity not just for today?
We all want to know our lives count. And in our Christian conversations we talk a lot about living for eternity and having an eternal perspective, yet if we are honest, we often live as if this life is all there is. Eternity is real and it awaits each one of us. There are no escape clauses.
Understanding What Matters Most is a six-week study through the book of Ecclesiastes. It’s a journey that gives the reader an opportunity to personally sift the gamut of real life experiences and define their lives by what matters most. There are questions designed to examine the heart and inspire application.
Why did you choose Ecclesiastes? What can readers expect to learn?
Many people avoid Ecclesiastes, but it is full of wisdom. There are three overriding lessons I pray that each reader will walk away with:
1. First, readers will gain an eternal focus and learn to live a life of eternal significance. The study’s goal is to equip each reader with the necessary tools to make daily choices in light of eternity and respond to life with an eternal perspective. We’re all looking for answers, and Ecclesiastes really helps us understand how to make decisions and deal with our circumstances based on what is and what is not important in light of eternity.
2. Second, readers will learn to deal with the real, tough issues and circumstances of life. Ecclesiastes is certainly not for sissies! I pray that readers will grasp the concept of eternity and the reality of our ultimate day of reckoning; I pray the truth of that reality will help them live each day in light of THAT day.
3. Third, readers will witness the grace of God at work in Solomon’s life and understand that same grace is available to us. Solomon was the wisest man to walk the planet, yet he blew it big time! Solomon’s life is proof that wisdom doesn’t always equal perfection! The beautiful truth is that God still used Solomon, even after he failed. I hope readers never forget that God is so much bigger than our failure – that His love for us transcends our ability to mess things up – that as long as we have breath, He still has a plan for our lives and the days we are given under the sun.
How did God lead you to write this particular study?
When I began writing Understanding What Matters Most, I didn’t begin in hopes of publishing a book. The study came from my own place of need. Years ago, when God called my husband and me to the mission field, my 19 year old son didn’t feel led to go. My maternal heart began to wrestle with the details of the call. I didn’t have a problem with the going…it was the leaving that gave me trouble. Who was going to take care of him if something went wrong? What if he got hurt? What about our parents? I was trying desperately to make sense of that which didn’t make sense at all.
Then the Lord gently led me to Ecclesiastes and gave me a bird’s-eye view of Solomon’s own attempts to make sense of the details of his life. After he ran the gamut of life experiences, he understood what matters most. I needed that kind of clarity – not only for the circumstances surrounding our call to missions, but also to help me live with an eternal focus. My study of Ecclesiastes gave me the tools I needed to filter the essential from the non-essential in light of eternity. Later God put it on my heart to send it to a publisher and I knew He wanted to use it for more than just me!
This study is primarily for women. However, Stephanie – a veteran home school mom who knows how hard it can be to find a good Bible study for children – encourages home school moms to use it as a study for their high school students. It will create the perfect opportunity to discuss the empty pursuits of this life and how they can live each day with eternity in view!
Find out more about Stephanie on her website.
You can purchase Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most at the following: