Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who's the Fool?

“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1: 18

None of us like to look like a fool, do we? We spend lots of time making sure that we are knowledgeable about fashion, politics, sports, the latest celebrity gossip, the biggest movies of the year, the next hit song, the best music video, etc. Why? All so that we can seem to be “in the know”. We are so scared of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We are so worried that we will do something stupid and that others will notice and make fun of us or hold it over our heads.

There was a story once in “Dear Anne” about a man who grew-up in the same small town. When he was a teen-ager, he was present when some of his friends set fire to someone’s garage. While he didn’t set the fire, he was guilty by association. This happened when he was 15. He paid his part of the damages and then moved on to college. Eventually he moved back, got married and was raising a family. At the age of 37, he was bemoaning the fact that anytime he met someone, the first thing they said was, “Weren’t you one of those boys that burned down the Jones’ garage?” He was upset and embarrassed that after 22 years, this is the thing that people still thought of when they met him. It seems that sometimes the stupid things we say or do never leave us.

Unfortunately, we get way too caught-up in this way of thinking in our relationship with God. We spend our lives either consumed with fear about what others will think of us if we “really” followed God, or else we are always worried that we are never measuring up to what God expects of us. But both of these attitudes paralyze us. They leave us empty and guilty.

Scripture does tell us that God’s wisdom is foolishness to this world and that the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God. Is it possible to be a “fool” for Christ without looking foolish? It depends on whose opinion you care about. Mother Teresa was a fool because she spent her life cleaning the wounds of dying lepers. Francis of Assisi was a fool because he gave up his father’s wealth and lived in poverty. Maximilian Kolbe was a fool because he offered his life in place of another condemned prisoner in the starvation bunker at Auschwitz. But each now stands with Jesus in heaven forever. Who’s the fool?

We may be considered fools by those who rule and hold power in this world, but every philosopher, president, dictator, or teacher who ever lived has now died or will die. Philosophies, systems of government, even countries—have come and gone. But Jesus remains. Let’s not fall for the "practical jokes" (sin) of this world that will leave us empty and ultimately dead forever, but let us be fools for the One who will never die and who will sustain us forever in paradise if we only follow Him during this short life.

Dear Jesus, give me the grace to be a fool for you and to see the wisdom that the world does not see. And grant that through my life, others may come to know you as well. Amen.

1 comment: