Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1-12
- Students will learn that in spite of his great wisdom, Solomon still made many bad choices.
- Students will learn Solomon tried many things to find meaning in his life outside of God.
- Students will learn after becoming miserable trying things other than God, Solomon realized true meaning and fulfillment in life can only be found through God.
Guiding Questions:Where should we find meaning for our lives?
Materials: religious optical illusions (many can be found online for free), paper (with Ecclesiastes 12:13 pre-printed on it for younger children), colored pencils or markers
Procedure: Explain to students that even though Solomon had asked God for wisdom, he didn’t always make good choices. In fact, it seems Solomon got caught up in a lot of the things his money and power gave him and maybe even stopped putting God first for a time in his life.
Most people think Ecclesiastes was written when Solomon was an old man. It is definitely a book written by a man who tried a lot of things like hard work and riches to make himself feel fulfilled and happy.
In the end though, Solomon realized he could never feel truly happy and fulfilled in life unless he put God first. Everything else was just an illusion. Show students several optical illusions. See if they can see the “tricks” in them.
Explain that just like those illusions, life can be “tricky” sometimes. Satan wants us to think things like money, hard work, or other things will make us happier than worshipping and obeying God. If we aren’t careful, we won’t see the truth that Solomon eventually realized. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of every human being.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV).
Give students paper. If the verse above isn’t pre-printed on it, have them write the verse at the top of the paper. Encourage students to draw a very simple picture on their paper that reminds them God is the only thing that will make them feel happy and fulfilled. (For younger students, this should be very simple like the cross.)
Tell students to leave the inside of the things they drew blank for now. The outside of the images should haves straight lines drawn in alternating colors. These lines need to be very close together and as straight as possible (Using rulers will help, but remind students they need to skip the inside of their drawing.)
Once the lines have been drawn, students should take the same two colors. Inside of each image they will pick up the color line from outside of the drawing and continue it, but curved inside of each object. This means inside of each object there will be curved lines alternating colors and the same distance apart as the outside straight lines. Each curved line should connect to a straight line of the same color. If this is completed properly, the finished drawing should appear 3-D. (Note: For very young students, you can just let them draw regular drawings if they don’t have the motor skills to create the illusion.)
Encourage students to place their drawings in their room to remind them only in God will true happiness and fulfillment be found.
- What are some things that you go to for happiness when you should go to God?
- How can we find joy in a relationship with God? In other words, some people might incorrectly think God is boring or that they can’t know him because they don’t see him. How can you connect to God?
Supplemental Activity: Students can research the scientific and psychological background behind why certain optical illusions work. What kinds of things in life work the same way because it gives us false happiness? Many illusions work because the eye sees things that the brain doesn’t understand. As Christians, how does this apply to how we have to trust God?