In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Paul says that “the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
I can think of many times when I’ve felt foolish. Like forgetting someone’s name, or worse, calling them by the wrong name. Or when I read The Life of Pi and thought it was based on a true story because of the voice of the journalist.
The times when being foolish has really hurt, though, were when I placed trust in people only to be let down.
The summer I graduated from college, I quit a part-time job to become a summer camp counselor. I had worked this job two summers previously, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. A friend who’d worked with me warned that once was enough. I didn’t listen.
It was a tough summer for many reasons, with staff conflicts on top of the Texas heat. I interviewed by phone for an internship that would start in the fall. The interview went well, but I declined when they made an offer, believing something closer to my ideal would come along. It didn’t. So I worked dead-end temp jobs at not much more than minimum wage. The whole summer seemed like a foolish waste of time.
I tearfully confided my disappointment in someone whom I thought was a friend, only to be let down when he betrayed my trust. It added insult to injury.
As I reflect on the Corinthians passage, I wonder about Jesus and his three short years with the disciples. Couldn’t he have personally ministered to so many more people with more time? Perhaps the Gospels would have given us more parables, more teachings. His earthly ministry ended in such a brutal way at the cross. He was abandoned by nearly all of his followers. Did they, who’d left everything to follow Jesus, decide the whole three-year journey had been a fool’s errand?
Jesus was a peasant from centuries ago, executed by the Roman authorities. By the world’s standards, it feels foolish to follow such a person.
Then I remember Easter, and that the cross was not the last word. Christ returned to those same disciples who had abandoned him, welcoming them with open arms. His death, and resurrection, are a victory over the power of evil in the world and sign of God’s love.
Dear God, thank you for reminding us that your wisdom is beyond human understanding. Help us to remember that the source of our life is in you. Amen.
Sandra Sims is Director of Advertising Sales for Sojourners.
Image: Happy April Fool's Day, nito / Shutterstock.com
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