How to be a Human Being (Manual Sold Separately)

by L. Grant Luton

Go to the ant, you lazybones! Consider its ways, and be wise. (Proverbs 6:6)

Whenever I read Solomon’s advice to lazy people, I wonder how much good it has ever actually done. After all, if a person is too unmotivated to work, he’s likely too unmotivated to hunt for ants to study.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

It’s the last bit of the verse – “…and be wise” – that interests me. What is wrong with us humans? Why do we require ants to teach us? I am puzzled that becoming wise is so difficult. How is it that ants are more successful at being ants then we are at being human beings?

This is the sixty-four-dollar question.

Think about it. No one needs to teach a cow how to succeed as a cow. A cow doesn’t need to be taught how to walk, reproduce, feed its young, and live out a perfectly normal cow life. It did not have to read a manual on “cow”-ness to know how to be a cow. The same applies to squirrels, badgers, whales, and houseflies.

But not humans

I think this dilemma arises from something we have that animals do not – free will. Sure, a rabbit may decide to eat this bunch of grass instead of that bunch. But, it can’t decide to live celibate, or mate with a porcupine. (Ouch!) A rabbit will always operate according to its onboard programming.

But our humanness is not so clearly defined. Our programming is missing some lines of code and without proper outside instruction we will fail as human beings.  Even Adam and Eve required instruction from their Creator on the day He made them. What’s up with that?! He had to instruct them on what they were permitted to eat and what was forbidden and He had to instruct them as to what their duties were in the garden. But no such instructions were given to the fish, birds and cattle.

This is the predicament in which we find ourselves. God intentionally created us with gaps in our programming. God designed us with a need to live in constant fellowship with Him.

But along with this need to live in constant fellowship with Him, God gave us free will so we could choose not to. In spite of my innate need for God I my life, I can choose to live life my own way… as an incomplete human being. In other words, as a fool – a person who is missing some vital programming.

My will, being free as it is, can lead me into all sorts of devious (and deviant) behavior. I require an operator’s manual – like the one that came with my weed whacker (or “string trimmer” if you are a stickler for nomenclature) which includes the following Table of Contents includes the following:

  • Guide to Using the Manual
  • Safety Precautions
  • Fuel & Fueling
  • Operating Instructions
  • Cleaning & Adjustment
  • Inspection & Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Warranty

If only we had such a manual for how to be a healthy fully functioning human being! A manual that would provide instruction on how to safely use, operate, fuel, clean, adjust, inspect, maintain, and repair one’s life, soul and body?

Oh, and don’t forget the replacement warranty!

Well, I have good news. Such a manual does, indeed, exist and is readily available. It is a manual that will help you troubleshoot the malfunctions in your life and how to resolve them. There is even information in it about how to quash laziness. (This part involves ants.)

According to this manual, wisdom (which is the knowledge I need to live as a human being) begins with humility (which is the recognition that I need an owner’s manual). This manual, of course, is the Bible. One of its staff writers explains that the manual’s contents were specifically created by the original Inventor and promises that proper study of the manual will provide each operator with the complete functioning, troubleshooting, repair, and operational information needed to guarantee peak performance for many years.[1]

But why did God create humanity with such an obvious lack of wisdom? Was this an oversight on the Creator’s part?

The answer, quite simply, is this: God desires an intimate relationship with us. And what better way to accomplish this than to create us with a need that only He can fill?

“For Adonai gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding…For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” [2]

If a person has enough of a spark of wisdom to realize that he needs more wisdom, then he is off to the races – the human race, that is. Being a human being does not come naturally. It comes supernaturally through the Word of God. The wisdom we lack can only be found in God’s living Word, and the more we encode His Word into our minds and hearts, the more fully human we become.

I am guessing you have already recognized this need in your life or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. So, the next step is to pick up the manual, discover the amazing wisdom it offers, and continue the adventure of learning how to live a full and complete human life.

Oh, and I almost forgot! The user manual provides information for contacting the 24-hour customer support line.


“For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her.[3]

[1] 2 Timothy 3:16-17

[2] Proverbs 2:6, 10

[3] Proverbs 8:11

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