Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson.
1. What is something you would never want to attempt alone? Why?
2. What was it like the last time you helped a coworker, friend, or neighbor out of a tight spot?
Read Ecclesiastes 4:7, 8.
1. In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the character Ebeneezer Scrooge is much like the lonely man Solomon described. Toiling endlessly for no one but himself, he doesn’t enjoy his wealth and isn’t content with his life until confronted with a friendless death. In the end, Scrooge finds significance through helping others with his resources, gaining not only friends, but a family. The man described in this section of Scripture is like Ebeneezer in many ways. To whom is the man addressing his questions in verse 8? Discuss how you could counsel someone you know like this who might be asking the same questions.
2. The why of what we do is as important as the what. Talk about what motivates your daily actions and discuss how the reason behind why you work significantly impacts others and how they may or may not see Jesus.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-11.
3. In the U. S. Army, every soldier is assigned a battle buddy who assists and protects them in and out of combat. Soldiers are more productive and safe when they work together, as they are constantly keeping an eye on one another. Talk about how this section of Scripture correlates to the idea of a military battle buddy.
4. Are you someone people regularly call for help? Proverbs 27:10 talks about the importance of being a good friend and having good neighbors. Consider your relationships with your neighbors and brainstorm ways to strengthen those bonds every day with the people who live next door to you.
5. Many companions may bring you to ruin, but true, God-centered friendships can be better than family, says Proverbs 18:24. Do you have companions and acquaintances, or do you have deep, true friendships? Examine what kind of friendships you have. Talk about how you can best care for and cultivate true Christian friends.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:12.
6. Jesus said where two or three come together in his name, he is there, too (Matthew 18:20). Discuss how this ties in perfectly with Ecclesiastes 4:12.
7. The people we spend the most time with influence us the most. They also tend to be a reflection of who we are. What positive, Christlike people will surround you and with whom will you intentionally share the love of Jesus this week?
Conclude your group time with prayer, using the following as a guide. Jesus, thank you that you call us your friends, always care for our needs, and strengthen and protect us. Show us how to be good friends to others, to shine your light in our lives, and to be good neighbors to everyone. Amen.
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