Summary: A wise person accepts and acts upon realities that others deny or ignore. The sooner we get these down, the better!
Wisdom and the Quality of Your Life
1. Some people are amazingly shrewd. Take this joke:
2. Morris (the father) says to his son:“I want you to marry a girl of my choice.”
The son says: I will choose my own bride.”
Morris says:“But the girl is Bill Gates’daughter.”
The son answers:“Well, in that case, yes ok.”
Morris then approaches Bill Gates and says:“I have a husband for your daughter.”
Bill Gates answers:“But my daughter is not ready to get married!”
Morris says:“But this young man is a vice-president of the World Bank.”
Bill Gates answers:“Ah, in that case, yes ok.”
Finally Morris goes to see the president of the World Bank.
Morris says: I have a young man to be recommended as a vice-president.”
The president answers:“But I already have more vice-presidents than I need.”
Morris says:“But this young man is Bill Gates’son-in-law.”
The President answers: “Ah, in that case, yes ok.”
And that is how successful business is done. [source: http://hayley-woo.blogspot.com]
3. This is shrewd, but not what we would call godly wisdom!
4. Some lessons in life can only be learned from experience and from our mistakes. But much wisdom we can learn from others, especially from God’s Word and Proverbs in particular.
5.Wisdom from God’s Word can get you to a better place faster and with less pain than having to learn our lessons the hard way – if we internalize it and act upon it.
Main Idea: A wise person accepts and acts upon realities that others deny or ignore. The sooner we get these down, the better!
I. Total SATISFACTION in Life is Elusive (20).
A. Reality and IDEALISM only sometimes intersect.
1. We need dreams when we are young to launch us into life.
2. Many times, some dreams come true, but don’t satisfy; no happily ever after.
3. We usually have to learn to address our dreams downward (exceptions). Important.
4. People who achieve or exceed their dreams are still dissatisfied and often wander off the path.
5. When I was a kid, the idea of having a video of “The Wizard of Oz” or other movies was impossible; now everything is at our fingertips, we don’t even desire to watch those movies.
B. We must resign ourselves that we will never have it ALL and find contentment.
1. Someone has said, “It is possible to have it all, but not at the same time.”
2. Paul writes in I Timothy 6:6-7, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”
C. The whole “more is better” mentality distracts us from enjoying what we HAVE.
• Some people paint/decorate a room and then savor the fruit of their labor. Others immediately say, “On to the next room.” Those illustrate two approaches to life. (illustration, not diagnostic).
II. Our Internal Battles and Musings SURFACE in Our Behavior, Sometimes in Stealth (19, 21-22).
A. What is inside shows on the OUTSIDE (19)
Mark 7:21-22, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
• What we take in affects our insides; kind of movies you watch, lyrics of the songs you listen to; what your friends/peers say; you tend to believe what you hear if it is said often enough/sarcasm.
B. One example is how we handle PRAISE (21)
1. Recognition is an important part of life.
2. People who do not praise the achievements of others think it is their job to keep others humble: it is not.
3. Humility, arrogance, or false humility show when we are recognized.
4. Some people are embarrassed. Best way to handle: “thank you.” Get off the subject instead of dwelling on how the praise is not due.
5. Herod Agrippa, in Acts 12:21ff is praised as a god, and God struck him with worms…
C. Another example is defiant STUBBORNNESS (22)
1. There is a difference between conviction and stubbornness. Conviction is about being convinced of a truth, stubbornness is a function of personality, pride, and foolishness.
2. Even being “ground” will not change a fool’s mind.
3. Pharaoh, King of Egypt was ground; the Egyptian economy destroyed, death of firstborn sons.
4. A fool is a fool precisely because he will not learn, but there are differing depths of foolishness.
III. Being CONSCIENTIOUS Carries Its Rewards (18, 23-26).
A. A conscientious SERVANT tends to be blessed (18)
1. Growing figs was a pretty solid business (no sugar then)
2. Ephesians 6:5-8 might be a midrash, “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.”