Sermon Illustrations

The Wise Fool

There is an old, corny story about the young man who was the first in his family to go to college. In fact, he was the first in his small town to go to college. And so when he came home after his freshman year, he was the apple of his father’s eye. His dad, who had never in his life read a book from cover to cover, was astonished at how many volumes were on his son’s bookshelf. The old man, who knew only what he had learned in the country one-room school, could not even imagine what laboratories and libraries looked like.

And so, in August, just before the boy was to go back to the university and begin his sophomore year, the old man decided to show him off. One morning he insisted that they go up town to the corner store, where all of dad’s cronies hung out. "Let’s go meet my buddies. I want them to know what you’ve learned."

They gathered around the cracker barrel, all these rough and ready men, capable enough in their own ways, but without much education. "This here’s my son. He’s a college student." They all looked, and smiled. The young man smiled back. His dad wasn’t satisfied. The boy had not demonstrated his knowledge. "Go ahead, son, say something." "Say what, dad?" "Oh, I don’t know, that’s up to you. Just say something. Speak college to ’em. Talk the way you do at college."

So, racking his brain for something that would sound sophisticated, the student offered up his piece of wisdom, "Pi r squared." They all waited for more, but that was it, "Pi r squared." They nodded, they nudged each other, they stroked their beards. So that was what it sounds like to speak college. Dad, however, turned a deep red and pushed his son out the door, angry as he could be. "What a waste of time and money to send you to that college. Everybody knows that pie are round."

Obviously, the dear old gentlemen, lacking any knowledge of geometry, had no idea what the youngster was talking about. They were ignorant, and there is no other label to put on it. Nor, I suppose, did they ever have any reason to calculate the area of a circle.

But what of the young man? Did he do anything wrong? Yes, he did. Indeed he did. He chose to parade his little knowledge, without explaining it or bothering to understand his audience. He had a little scrap of knowledge, and chose to get arrogant with it. He could have helped them understand; instead he demonstrated that he was a sophomore, or literally, the word means, "a wise fool."

Related Sermon Illustrations

Related Sermons

Browse All Media

Related Media