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Summary: Allow me to shed some light on three arenas; authority, agony and academics.

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LEADERS, LOSERS AND LEARNERS

ECCLESIASTES 8:1-17

Introduction: In chapter 8 Solomon continues his theme on wisdom. Allow me to shed some light on three arenas: authority, agony and academics. Let me put it this way.

I. The Traits of Wise Leaders (v. 1-9)

These verses are for all who are in leadership positions. Everyone of us is affected by

authority. We’re either under authority or in a position of authority. Here is good advice for every CEO, supervisor, manager or foreman. But I want to use these verses to speak to those in positions of spiritual leadership. Underscore these words.

A. Explanation (v. 1) – The leader should be able to see the big picture. It means to have a solution; to explain the difficult. He or she needs to know the “why” of an organization (Swindoll). They may not know all the “hows” but they need to know the “why.” Mind your mind! Let your mind grow!

B. Illumination (v. 1) – Note the words “brightens,” “face,” and “hard.” The word hard means stern, fierce, stiff, tough, unsmiling and negative. Leaders need wisdom that will beam them up! In other words, have a cheerful disposition. Not only “mind your mind,” but “fix your face.” Let your mind grow and let your face grow. The devil shouldn’t have all the laughter and fun. Laughter is vital to a balanced life and ministry.

C. Communication (v. 2-4) – Note the use of “command” and “word.” Mind your mind. Fix your face. “Tame your tongue.” Let your mind grow, your face glow and your words “flow” – carefully, of course. What comes out of your mouth sets the tone and direction for your followers. “If you want to manage conflict then master communication” (John Maxwell). Be tactful and diplomatic.

D. Discrimination (v. 5-7) – I don’t mean this in a bad way. The point is God has put you where you are so use good judgment. Know the proper time to do what ought to be done. Be calm and stead when trouble abounds. “Judge your judgment.” Let your wisdom “show.”

E. Limitation (v. 8) – Learn your limitations. When it comes to this issue just “know.” None can harness the wind or defy death. We are finite. This should produce a humble, teachable spirit. The point here, also, is that I cannot change someone else’s spirit. There are some who try. They use and abuse and wind up losing.

But what if my boss/parent/authority asks me to do something unethical or downright

evil? Warren Wiersbe in his book Be Satisfied, has a good approach to this passage. He notes four possible responses. 1. Disobedience (v. 2, 4, 5); 2. Desertion (v. 30); 3.

Defiance (3b); 4. Discernment (v. 5b-6). Wisdom will help figure out the right thing at the right time.

Now listen, we need to be wise leaders who manifest these traits. Why? Because of this second idea (as follows).

II. The Tragedy of Wicked Losers (10-14)


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