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Ecclesiastes 8

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NIV Ecclesiastes 8:1 Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance.

 2 Obey the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God.

 3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king's presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases.

 4 Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?"

 5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.

 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.

 7 Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?

 8 No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

 9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt.

 10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried-- those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless.

 11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

 12 Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.

 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.

 14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.

 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man's labor on earth-- his eyes not seeing sleep day or night--

 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.

Secular:

In life we all must take the role of a leader…

Regularly: Family, Ministry, Work

Less frequently: With friends, specific situations…

Ecclesiastes 8 has a lot of rich information for us… one way to approach the text is to look at the leadership material that Solomon presents:

Chuck Swindoll calls this section “Characteristics of a Wise Leader” and because we all have to deal with leadership all the time either giving leadership or accepting it… there just may be something in here for each of us…

Body:

Clear Mind:

8:1a Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things?

  • Rhetorical Question… Who is like the wise man!!
  • Explanation… interpretation… who sees through the mystery…
    • Be calm, discerning in a crisis.
    • Make the complex simple
  • Motivation
    • How a job is done… have a job
    • Why is job is done… makes a worker (stakeholder)
    • Life… digging a hole versus planting a tree for Mom’s birthday
    • Ministry… babysitting versus pouring into the lives of our children
  • Leader tends to be highly motivated sees the goal clearly…
    • Don’t outrun your ability to think…
    • Clear mind to establish goal
    • Clear mind to accomplish goal

** Ministry – A mist in the pulpit often produces a fog in the congregation.

Mark of a leader… fulltime / part-time CLEAR MIND

Next:

A Cheerful Disposition:

v1b Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance.

  • A Clear mind… lack of confusion
    • Not many of us smile driving through a fog
  • Wisdom… a healthy blend of life experience, knowledge and set against a fear of God… right understanding of our humanity and role in God’s economy
  • Kid’s Hockey or Soccer coaches… what is that about?
    • Yelling only gets so far… a dower outlook eventually gets dower results
  • Ministry people…
    • Charge… roller coaster… passion versus results… remember the motivation… (happiest maybe… most joyful… FOR SURE!)
  • Meaningless…soap bubbles…
    • Joy in eternal… do you get it… can you be contagious?
    • Neh 8:10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
    • People in a struggle to rebuild Jerusalem their corner stone of faith… just as we fight to build the church… the Kingdom of God.

** Mark of a leader… Cheerful Disposition

Discreet Mouth:

2 Obey the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God. 3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king's presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. 4 Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?"

  • Watch what you say… when being led
  • Whether it is a spiritual-church relationship or a business-secular relationship… as children of God we are under ‘oath’… under scripture to conduct ourselves in a certain fashion
  • Don’t run off at the mouth… hey it happens!
  • Conversely…
    • Remember… NIV James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
      • We all play the king at times!!
    • Be loyal… cooperative… sensitive
    • Be a good witness

** Mark of a leader… Discreet Mouth

1)      Clear Mind

2)      Cheerful Disposition

3)      Discreet Mouth

4)      Keen Judgment

Keen Judgment:

 5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.

 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.

 7 Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?

  • Good leaders do not put their people in harms way!!
  • They will be thoughtful of proper time and procedure
  • Even when the pressure of others is turned up…there is an appropriate way to deal with issues…(weighs heavily)
    • Trusting in God
      • Sense of timing
      • Wise strategy
      • Calm and decisive amidst trouble
      • Spontaneous savvy

** Mark of a Leader… Keen Judgment

Humble Spirit:

 8 No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

  • Know your limits
  • Wind – no control
  • Death – no say in the matter
  • War – can’t ask to go home
  • Wickedness will not release the world from its grip…
  • Doesn’t mean we give up…
    • FOCUS
    • STRENGTH OF FAITH
    • PURPOSE, DETERMINATION – In line with God
    • TRUST IN GOD… not MAN for the results…
  • Humility… Christ-like servant leadership…

** Mark of a leader… Humble Spirit

1)      Clear Mind – calm the waters… see through the lens of faith

2)      Cheerful Disposition – Joy of the Lord

3)      Discreet Mouth – Watch what we say

4)      Keen Judgment – Immersed in God and his Word

5)      Humble Spirit – Putting others first

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