Summary: The Gospel seems foolish to non-believers but it turns out to be very wise.
Jan. 30, 2011 1 Cor. 1:18-31 C & Z “Foolish or Not?”
I think that memories are great things. I was reading this week about a pastor named Wayne Major who was remembering a stunt they pulled when they were in high school. One of the two guys would get into the back of the car and lay the backseat down and hide in the trunk. The other person would drive and pick up one of their friends. The two in the front would get involved in a deep conversation and one in the trunk would sneak back out behind the rider and suddenly join in the conversation. Wayne had all kinds of stories of the various startled reactions that they got. It was just a silly foolish prank that left many memories. I’m sure that if some of us think back to our younger years, we will remember some of the silly foolish things that we used to do. This morning we are going to look at foolishness in a little different light. We are going to look at what Paul says is foolishness and I hope that there is no one here this morning who thinks this message is foolish. But if you do, don’t give up. Keep listening and allow Jesus into your life.
Scott Carmer tells the story of a pastor colleague of his who had a mother call him and say, “Pastor, can you come over to talk to my daughter? She’s been acting strange ever since she went to college. Now she has joined the Moonies!” The fellow was a good pastor and rushed over immediately to try to help the young girl see that she was mistaken in her new found beliefs. “What on earth convinced you to get involved with these folks?” he asked. She said that she had met a couple one evening who had taken her to a movie featuring the Rev. Moon. “When I heard him preach that night, I thought that I hadn’t heard such good preaching since the last time I listened to you! That’s why I’m a follower today. I owe it all to your preaching!” It was at this point that this preacher remembered a conversation he had with an older and much more seasoned pastor. When he had asked what the older man had learned in forty years of preaching he said, “What I have learned in preaching is that the possibilities for being misunderstood are virtually unlimited.”
Being a pastor is a wonderful way to make a living because we have the best boss there can be. But it is also very interesting. Sometimes I wonder where I’m heading in a sermon. Sometimes I feel that I struck out with what I have said. Other times I can see on your faces that I did all right. And sometimes people just misunderstand what I tried to say and that is because I probably didn’t say it well enough. Putting all this together is very fragile and it really takes the steady hand of the Lord to do it. I try not to let this be about me but sometimes that just happens because I am human just like all the rest of us. I am always a part of the process and I am human. Therefore I preach foolishness when it comes from me and this is part of what Paul is talking about.
As we begin to look at this writing from Paul we need to look at the people of the time. The Jews thought that preaching the news of the cross was the most foolish thing they had ever heard. We have heard many times how they thought that the Messiah would be a conquering king who did miracles. But Jesus had not restored the throne of David. He was not a king. As a matter of fact Jesus was nothing more than a common criminal in their minds. He was considered to be the least of people if he was even considered to be anything at all. Anyone would have to be foolish to proclaim him to be a king from the cross. After all this is just plain nonsense.
In today’s world it isn’t much different. We have millions of naysayers in this country alone. Often times these are the people who can quote a passage in the Bible but have never bothered to read this great book. These are the people who watch the History Channel and think that what they say is the new gospel. These are our friends and neighbors who get bombarded with all of this false information and need our help to get them on the right track. People who don’t know Jesus think that the Bible is foolishness.
I think that most of you know that I will write a letter to the editor from time to time. This week I tried to stress how important it is for Christians to give thanks to God before their meal, no matter of where you are when you eat. There are many people who will disagree with me on this and those are the ones who don’t know Jesus and think that the message is foolish. And this is ok. Every time we state something from the Gospel we are adding a little bit of knowledge to the non-believer so that someday the Holy Spirit will get a hold of them and they too will believe. I think we have to be more vocal in proclaiming the truth.