Some years ago I was invited to a women’s meeting. The speaker was the wife of a member of parliament. She was elegant and eloquent, and she sparkled with life and fun. The main thrust of her talk was that she’d asked God what her gifting was, what was she for Him? He told her that she was a ‘foolish thing’. You can imagine that at first she was a little bit perturbed and disappointed at this. However she came to an understanding of it from the passage in 1 Corinthians 1. She often met influential and noble people from all sorts of walks of life, sitting at functions and dinners with them, and God was calling her to be a witness to those people.
After the talk we broke into groups to pray together and there was someone in my group who was quite distressed. She was asking how this woman could say she was a ‘foolish thing’, when she seemed so far from foolish. We had to explain that in the circles she moved in she may have been seen as someone quite unimportant, even foolish, and not necessarily worth listening to. This person in the group was being called by God to set up a women’s group in her locality, and she was terrified because she wasn’t able to read or write. She felt she was far too foolish to lead a group. Wow! Don’t you just love the way God does things? We were able to encourage her and pray for her.
It’s certainly not always easy to be a ‘foolish thing’. It’s not something most of us would put our hands up for. The wise don’t take kindly to being shamed. They don’t really like to have their carefully worked out ways and solutions challenged by the unqualified or uneducated.
I’ve always loved this passage in 1 Corinthians 1. I love the way that, as Paul explains in verse 18, the wise and noble thought they could overcome the problem of Jesus by killing Him but His greatest victory was in His death (and subsequent resurrection of course). They thought they had the way to know God all sorted out through their own wisdom. I love that we walk in a kingdom where God so often uses the people that have been written off by the world to do His work.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, that Jesus Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God and that this power and wisdom is available to all who believe. Thank You, Lord, that You don’t measure us by the standards of this world. Help us to be willing to be used as ‘foolish things to shame the wise’ so that they, and we, might know the power of God in the crucified Christ. Amen.
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