Stephanie Shott is an international speaker, author of the new Bible study on Ecclesiastes, Understanding What Matters Most. She has appeared as a guest on various television and radio shows sharing hope for the hurting, rest for the weary and truth for all. As a speaker, she is part of a gifted team of communicators led by Kathi Lipp known as Speaker Chicks. As a writer, she has linked hearts and hands with Scripture Dig, a team of women dedicated to helping women grow in the Word of the Living God.
Tell us about your new Bible study on Ecclesiastes, Understanding What Matters Most, and what you hope readers will get out of doing this study.
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.
Although many avoid Ecclesiastes, it is chock-full of wisdom - not only for Solomon, but for each of us. However, there are three overriding lessons I pray that each reader will walk away with.
***1. We all long to define our existence with significance, yet the only way to truly do that is to make our eternity intentional. It’s a minute by minute choice of the will to filter the way we respond to life through the lens of eternity. I pray that Understanding What Matters Most will equip each reader with the necessary tools to do just that. 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. The study of Ecclesiastes is certainly not for sissies! It deals with real issues and real life circumstances. I hope 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. A more subtle but profound lesson we can learn from this study is to see 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 place this book on your heart?
When I began writing Understanding What Matters Most, I didn't begin in hopes of publishing a book. Understanding What Matters Most was birthed from my own place of need. It was during a time when God had called us to the mission field and 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 gripped my heart and clouded my view. 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.
That's when 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 knew I needed that kind of clarity. Not only for the circumstances surrounding our call to the mission field, but to help me walk through life with the imprint of eternity on my heart. My study of Ecclesiastes gave me the tools I needed to filter the essential from the non-essential in light of eternity. When God put it on my heart to send it to a publisher and they said yes, that’s when I knew He wanted to use it for more than just notes for a conference.
Who would you say would benefit from your book?
It’s primarily a Bible study for women. However, since I’m a veteran homeschool mom who remembers how hard it was to find a good Bible study for my children, I would also like to encourage homeschool moms to use it as a study for their high school students. What a great opportunity to walk through Ecclesiastes as they sit at Solomon’s feet and get a clear picture of how empty the pursuits of this life can be and how important it to live each day with eternity in view!
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you or how they can book you to speak at their next event?
Where can we find your Bible study?
http://tinyurl.com/63obfhr (Barnes and Noble)