Summary: Toward the end of Camelot, a depressed King Arthur asks the sage Merlin what to do for sadness. To which Merlin enthusiastically replies. “Learn something new, my boy, learn something new!”

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TEXT: Proverbs 8:33


(Graduation 1999)

Toward the end of Camelot, a depressed King Arthur asks the sage Merlin what to do for sadness. To which Merlin enthusiastically replies. “Learn something new, my boy, learn something new!”

You may not know this, but school was never meant to teach you everything you need to know. It merely equips you. An education is meant to give you all the mental tools you need to dig out the deep treasures of life. Still, you must do the digging.

That’s why they call graduation “commencement.” Commence means begin. The only thing you finished getting were the basic tools. In fact, many of you will do some specialized “tool shopping” in college. Even then, the richness of life itself can only be found by those who put the tools to work.

There are no less than 30 references to “hearing” or “learning” in the Book of Proverbs. Why such a big deal about listening? Because for some reason, unknown to mankind, young adults go through a period of time when they think they know it all. Even some older adults think this. Whoa! Just a minute. Don’t start flying through your defenses. It wasn’t that long ago I was there myself. The good news is that the duration is usually short-lived.

Mark Twain is often quoted for his "insight" on teenagers. The Mississippi folk hero said, "When I was a boy of 14 I thought my father was the most ignorant man in the world, but when I was 24 I was amazed how much the old man had learned in ten years." If you have a teenager...hang in there. If you are a teenager...hang in there. (Today In The World, May 1991, p. 35) IOWJUL91

Once you grow up a bit more, and get a strong dose of being on your own, you might be more eager to listen. The day may actually come when you will want to hear from somebody who has been there before.

Doug Larson said, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.”

There’s more to learning than lectures, though. In the highways and byways of everyday, there are new experiences, people, places, ideas, and hardships to teach you the invaluable lessons. These become the key that unlocks the storehouse of wisdom. And what do you see when you look it? What life is all about.

Let me ask you a question. Why is a fool a fool? Because he rejects knowledge. He simply won’t learn. Not because he can’t, but because he isn’t interested. All of life is one big recess to him. He doesn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. He only wants to play. So he becomes a great pretender. Pretending well, he is still just a fool.

Now, a fool may have much education, but he is foolish to have stopped learning. The “smart fool” is a fool, because he doesn’t consider anyone intelligent enough to teach him anymore. So there are two kinds of fools:

1. Those who haven’t learned and won’t.

2. Those who started to learn and stopped.

As you trod the broader roads of learning I hope you will keep a few things in mind:


Someone once said, “Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.” You may learn the right way, or a better way. You may learn how not to, or what happens if you do. Some will give you tips, others pointers, others chunks. However, you can learn something from everyone you meet. How to act, or not to act. What to say, or not to say. Some you will want to emulate. Of others you will want to be the opposite.

That reminds me of a story I read: Two men were riding a bicycle built for two and they came to a big steep hill. It took a great deal of struggle for the men to complete what proved to be a very stiff climb. When they got to the top the man in front turned to the other and said, “Boy, that sure was a hard climb.” The fellow in back replied, “Yes, and if I hadn’t kept the brakes on all the way we would certainly have rolled down backwards.” Do you think there is something you could have learned if you were the person in the front?

The things that make great men great aren’t really secrets. They are qualities open to the public, if the public is interested to learn. Neither are the things that failures practice hidden. Learn from them both.


Automaker Henry Ford asked electrical genius Charlie Steinmetz to build the generators for his factory. One day the generators ground to a halt, and the repairmen couldn’t find the problem. So Ford called Steinmetz, who tinkered with the machines for a few hours and then threw the switch. The generators whirred to life—but Ford got a bill for $10,000 from Steinmetz. Flabbergasted, the rather tightfisted car maker inquired why the bill was so high. Steinmetz’s reply: For tinkering with the generators, $10. For knowing where to tinker, $9,990. Ford paid the bill. Being good at something is important. Knowing where to tinker is important.

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Talk about it...

Donald Love

commented on May 15, 2007

Overall great sermon! However, I would stay away from Merlin quotes since Scritpure is so much against magicians!!

Mary Stewart

commented on May 17, 2014

I really enjoyed this message and plan to quote you thanks and God Bless You from a Mississippi Pastor!

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