Monday, April 4, 2011

40 Days of Lint, Day Twenty-three: Foolishness

I've done a lot of foolish things in my life. I’ve paid good money for things I later realized were worthless and trivial. I’ve spouted meaningless verbiage in my efforts to be wise and helpful. I’ve embarrassed myself in front of others, even blushed at my stupidity when no one else was around. The worst sort of foolishness, however, is when I realize my words or actions have made God’s name look bad.

It’s so easy to do. Careless words can wound and fester. An unguarded look can become the poster for Christianity in someone else’s mind. When I act before thinking, worse yet, before praying, it can damage the cause of Christ and everything I hold so dear.

That’s why David’s prayer is also the prayer of my heart:

You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you.
Lord, the LORD Almighty, may those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me.
Psalm 69:5-6

I plead with God to weed the folly from my heart. All the hidden stupidity that comes so easily. On the other hand, I ask that He let me be His jester instead. Interestingly enough, European monarchs used to employ jesters not only to entertain but to offer wisdom and insight in the form of poetic humor. Shakespeare often used the jester in his plays to speak truths no one else dares bring into the open.

In the 1956 movie Court Jester, Danny Kaye pretends to be a jester joking his way through his mission to save the true king. My favorite scene is his famous monologue and tongue twister, “The pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!” No matter how silly the presentation, the jester’s heart to serve his king was true and good eventually won.

We must be willing to serve our Master well, sometimes appearing foolish to the rest of the world. How appropriate, as April unfurls, that we ask God to remove the lint of foolishness from our hearts that would bring shame to Him and the cause of Jesus Christ. He will replace it with boldness to proclaim a message the world often sees as foolishness.

• “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” (1 Cor. 1:18).
• “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21).
• “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23).
• “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor. 1:25).
• “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14).
• “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:19).

May each one of us be on guard against the pellet with the poison and have the wisdom to choose the brew that is true!
Lint Removed: Worldly Foolishness
Cleaning Process: Serve as God’s Jester

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