How to be a Wise Guy
by Dr. Kevin Leman
I’m a guy who had little going for me early in life. Let’s just say that Wisdom was not my middle name, and nobody on the planet would have called me wise.
Well, I take that back. Lots of people called me a wise guy. And a goofball and a comedian to boot. As a senior in high school, I was in consumer math, where the final exam question was something like this: “Jane went to the store to buy tangelos. She had a dollar and came home with four tangelos. How much did each tangelo cost?”
The funny (or sad) part is, I never reached that final exam in the course because I literally chased the teacher out of the classroom with my antics. The school kicked me out of the class after the teacher resigned and got a sub to finish the rest of the year. On my high school transcript, there’s no grade for consumer math—only a hyphen.
When I applied to over 160 colleges, nobody wanted me. Finally, through a series of events, I got admitted to North Park University in Chicago. (Actually, I think they’d prefer to remain anonymous; nevertheless, they finally let me in through some miracle.) But long story short, I was asked to move along in the first quarter of my sophomore year.
So I came to Arizona at 19 years old and got a job. Of course, I wanted an executive-level position that paid a lot of money, but the only offer I received was a janitor job at a local hospital.
At that point in my life I had no use for God. Did I believe in him? Sure. He was the almighty guy “up there.” But he didn’t have any connection to my life. And I didn’t want any part of those I saw as representatives of Christianity. I thought they were weird, strange, and . . . well, those descriptions would be kind. Christians turned me off in more ways than you can imagine.
But God does move in mysterious ways. And behind God, many times there is a person. That person was my mom, who wrote in my Bible the words of Proverbs 3:1–6. They lingered there until at last I opened that Bible and was ready to consider the words seriously.
When I first read Proverbs 3:1–6, I thought, Wow, anyone who follows these little nuggets can’t go wrong. The instructions seemed so simple, so straightforward, that even a guy like me could follow them.
But then, as I pondered the words more, I was awestruck. These words, I realized, were the road map to a win-win life. King Solomon brilliantly finagled 10 of life’s most practical and meaningful principles into 6 tight little verses. No wonder he became the wisest king to rule Israel in long-ago times. Even more, if you understand and take these verses to heart and they become a part of your life and belief system, I’m convinced you’ll leave an astounding legacy that will influence generations to come.
Dr. Kevin Leman, The Way of the Wise, Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2013. “Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.”