Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 34; 146, Genesis 37:12-24, 1 Corinthians 1:20-31, Mark 1:14-28
We train our children not to trust strangers, especially ones promising treats. As adults we try to follow our own advice. We are skeptical of offers that sound “too good to be true.” Most of us don’t hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. We lock up our homes, cars, and jewelry. Given the nature of the world, all these precautions are wise.
On the other hand, we still like our quick fixes and easy assurances. Proof lies in the bank accounts and hypocrisy of televangelists, politicians, snake oil salesmen, and home shopping gurus. Headline after headline reminds us we entrust them with far too much of our faith and money.
What then are we to make of fishermen who “immediately” dropped everything to follow Jesus, as Mark tells us, simply because he asked them to? In hindsight we support the decision, but what about anyone who abandoned her or his life today to follow someone promising to make them “day traders of men?” Do the words “cult” and “deprogram” come to mind? Were the first disciples wise people or lucky fools?
The difference between wisdom and foolishness is a tough call. Because God’s values are upside down compared to the world’s values, we are constantly called to evaluate our decisions, and sometimes to act in ways others would consider foolish. For example, how many of use are willing to decrease our standard of living – move into a smaller house, drive a cheaper car, or take a lower paying job – to spend more money or time on the poor? Very few, and they are often judged with humor at best and cynicism at worst. The world tells us this is foolishness, yet it is freedom.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us God makes the foolish wise and the wise foolish. Let’s not get cocky about which side of that equation we land on. Determining whether a path is right or merely attractive can take serious discernment. We want to follow Jesus urgently, but we want to be sure the path we choose truly leads to him. Let’s choose our guides with Godly wisdom and worldly foolishness.
Comfort: Your choices are between you and God.
Challenge: “Foolishly” critique your own opinion on a controversial issue.
Prayer: God of wisdom, bless me with your foolishness.
Discussion: Have you ever felt like a fool for Christ? When and why?
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