Our world has made tremendous scientific progress. The more progress we have made, the more questions we seem to have, it is an insatiable unending quench; that we have answers for some of the questions seem to drive us all the more.
The other day I was watching a medical TV series and one of the doctors was unable to provide a valid answer to how one of his patients got healed and so with a sigh he attributed it to an act of God. You should have seen the responses the other doctors gave him, it was almost like he had insulted the world of scientists, or is it maybe the world of small gods? These verses seem to have it summed up “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God… And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
We all grow up avoiding looking foolish, avoiding foolish acts. Yet, in the world of faith, foolishness is something to be longed for. Paul writes in the book of Corinthians ‘For 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.’
These verses always have a way of astounding me. They remind me how much ours is a walk of faith. The background to these verses is what many call the “Wisdom of God”. You see God would have chosen to save us in any way that perhaps our ‘big minds’ would fathom, but He chose the ‘most foolish’ way possible.
He chose to send His Son to us, and not in a ‘flying heavily guarded gold filled horse’, but in a manger. He chose to have Jesus born by a virgin woman. He chose to have His death be a spectacle we all hate to see. He chooses to have His only begotten Son beaten. This Man who had raised many from the dead was thirsty at the cross, He felt forsaken, and He even has people around Him telling Him that if He had saved all the others why can’t He save Himself?
But perhaps the ultimate ‘foolishness’ is that after all these, God chooses to raise His Son from the dead. It is bad enough He has been through the entire trauma, but now raising Him from the dead? How will the ‘wise’ of this world relate to that? Who believes that a Man can die and rise again for the sake of my salvation? This is the foolishness that God uses.
It is no wonder that it is written that this Message ‘it is foolish to the Jews who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense’.
This verse sums it up ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent’.
Each time I think I have God figured out; these verses remind me how far I am from it. They remind me I am a work of faith. It is no wonder that ‘it is impossible to please God without faith’.
The thing about the Christian walk is it always starts at the point of faith.”That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you have been saved”, a faith walk is what salvation is all about. All it takes is to believe, to believe the foolishness of this world and recognize it ‘as the power of God’. A foolishness that recognises that we are saved by grace and that no amount of good deeds can get us this salvation, ‘salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done.’
Everything God will do for you and me starts there, a faith walk. It’s the cornerstone.
It is as if this ‘foolishness’ is the catalyst for anything else to fall into place. And it is amazing that everyone who has believed has watched this building that comes from this seemingly small cornerstone. I meet many people who struggle to believe in this ‘foolishness’ and for that reason never have a single rock built over it. Everything I am about is based on this ‘foolishness’ and each day grows to something that astounds me, of a Risen Christ who is daily at work in me and through me. ‘This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest human plans…’
No wonder Paul then asks “So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars and world’s brilliant debaters’. In my day I would add the scientists whose faith is built on medicine, which when it fails, its unfathomable.
The second debate
So I have fallen kukukaka for the first debate. It is the second debate that I still struggle with.
As if it is not enough that God’s way of saving us is through ‘foolishness’, God does not end it there. In His Kingdom, today, He still uses the foolish things of this world for the works He sets out for them. ‘Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standard; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.’ Paul continues to explain ‘And so it was with me…When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God…I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power’.
This is the crack of these second foolishness, that God’s message on foolishness does not end at the cross, He still is at the business of calling and using the ‘foolish’.
And this has been so true in my walk with God. There have been seasons I have depended on my own wisdom, my great plans, I am after all a well-trained thinker. Yet, each of those moments I have failed miserably. Sometimes I have actually completed the tasks I was assigned to but, men, utter loss follow. A couple of months back I facilitated a class in what I know was in own strength. I look back and I see the hype that was the Word falling on the sand, and when the rains came, it was all gone. Yet in those classes that I have been weak, clueless, submitted to where God leads, I am amazed at what He does.
I know of people who are not too educated who God has used greatly. I know people who are single who God has used to minister to married people. I know people who were new and young in their faith that God has used greatly to minister to others. I know of people who have been through broken marriages who God has used. I know of people who are childless that God has used to minister greatly.
This is my struggle. And I bet it’s a struggle I share with many.
You see we live in a world where human wisdom is everything. In my workplace, my best foot forward with human wisdom can earn me accolades. So why does this not apply where God has called me to serve Him?
We live in a world where systems and processes made of human wisdon are everything. I get excited when I see the Church embracing this too. We must be excellent in all we do for God. Yet a book by John Piper that I have not read but with a great title Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is a sobering moment for me. We must never preach this gospel in human wisdom, infact my life must never be about human wisdom. I must never be so much about excellent processes that I forget to be led of the Lord.
I am learning that in God’s business there is no room for self-sufficiency. It is the reason God will almost always use the foolish things, the foolish things will always depend on Him, they are the ones who when they are done with whichever task it is very clear that it was God’s doing.
It is the reason the lineage of Christ is a lot of foolishness; from David & Bathsheba (David had many wives, how God chooses Bathsheba as the one to be in the lineage of Christ is very telling), to Jacob (men, this guy was a swindler), to Rahab (yes, this was the one who was a prostitute in her before life), to Judah & Tamar
He is looking for foolishness to use for His glory. Now to comprehending that and being submitted to His foolishness.
“An exaggerated emphasis on talents and qualifications has closed the door to the mission field for many a fine potential missionary. They will offer their services to any society which will guarantee the full employment of their skills,” writes L.T.Kyalo. “This is necessary to satisfy their families and friends that all the long grind leading upto qualification is not going to be altogether wasted. Surely God must have allowed them to have this training inorder to use it. Abraham laid down no such conditions. Nor did Paul. Nor did any of the outstanding missionaries between their day and ours. The Lord demands unconditional discipleship. A Christian is under orders. He must not ask to see the path before stepping out. If we believe God has given us a special stewardship or training, can we not trust Him if it seems that He puts the gift aside for a time – or even forever?