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Summary: This life is nothing like a fairy tale where we live happily ever after. Life is a constant challenge, and we fare better at it if we embrace some realistic realizations, some of which seem slightly cynical and ironic.

Practical Advice with A Cynical Flavor

(Ecclesiastes 10:1-20)

1. The dictionary defines a cynic as, “a person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons.”

2. One definition of the word “irony” is “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.”

According to Reader’s Digest:

• The most shoplifted book in America is The Bible.

• The founder of AA asked for whiskey on his deathbed.

• Every year ABC cuts down A Charlie Brown Christmas—a movie about the over-commercialization of the holidays—to make room for more commercials.

• Charlie Chaplin once entered a "Charlie Chaplin walk" contest… and came in 20th.

• Before 2012, the largest purchaser of kale in America was Pizza Hut. They used it as garnish around their salad bars.

• Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but refused to keep one in his study. He feared it would distract him from his work.

3. Some of today’s text is somewhat cynical and somewhat ironic, but, then again, life is certainly that way at times. And today’s text is about life.

Main Idea: This life is nothing like a fairy tale where we live happily ever after. Life is a constant challenge, and we fare better at it if we embrace some realistic realizations, some of which seem slightly cynical and ironic.

I. You Can Plan and Work Hard, And Things Can Still Go BADLY (1, 8-9, 11)

A. Something SMALL can ruin something important or valuable (1).

B. AMBITION and taking action can turn to tragedy (8-9, 11).

1. The Living Bible really takes liberties when translating vs. 11, “When your horse is stolen, it is too late to lock the barn.”

2. Sometimes we get the “bug” to do something — a sudden passion or interest; yet that same blast of motivation may be our downfall. Always a risk.

3. My sister got a bug to buy a summer home in Wisconsin; things were delayed, and then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

4. We must always say, “Lord willing.” And we decide to launch out on faith or optimism, we must always realize the possibility of failure; there is not such thing as “fool-proof” or “guaranteed.”

II. Wisdom — Or a Lack of It — Is a HUGE Player in the Game of Life (2-4, 10, 12-15).

A. Wisdom and foolishness can be described as INCLINATIONS (2-3).

Do people make bad decisions because they are foolish, or are they foolish because they make bad decisions? Or both?

B. Wisdom helps you handle ANGRY people in authority over you (4).

1. Space

2. Calm, humble answers

C. Wisdom saves much effort, like sharpening a TOOL before you use it (10).

• I do not have a masonry drill, but a standard drill with masonry drill bits…

D. Fools KNOW it all and cannot stop TALKING (12-15).

• My puppet Mouthly; I can almost guarantee you know someone like that.

• You are not always entitled to a spoken opinion; matriculation.

• Let the people who understand decide.

III. The BEST People Are Often NOT At the Top (5-7, 16-17, 19).

A. People who have the SAY may not be the wisest or most competent (5-7).

B. Mature, DISCIPLINED leaders are the ideal (16-17)

• Biblical elder vs. OT elder…

C. Understand the cynical, REDUCTIONIST ways of worldly thinking (19).

Living for pleasure and reducing the purpose of life to money.

IV. Don’t Be TOO Lax, Even When You Relax (18-20).

• Belshazzar was relaxed and partying when Babylon was conquered…

A. Take CARE of your possessions (18).

• Some people are doomed to poverty, and you can tell by how they maintain their things;

B. Remember: careless words can come back to HAUNT you (20).

• In a day of Facebook, texting, and email, this is more relevant than ever!

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