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Friday, December 4, 2009

Whose Fool Are You?

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness." (1 Cor. 3:18-19)

It has been rightly said that a fool is a person who does not know the right value of things. Everything in life of any consequence has a price tag, and we must choose between competing interests and opportunities. At every turn we must decide - peace in the long run belongs to those who know the value of things and choose accordingly. Centuries ago, William Law wrote a classic volume with the title: A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. In it he drew a vivid picture of the emptiness of lives that are tied to the temporal:
To abound in wealth, to have fine houses and rich clothes, to be attended with splendour and equipage, to be beautiful in our persons, to have titles of dignity, to be above our fellow-creatures, to command the bows and obeisance of other people, to be looked on with admiration, to overcome our enemies with power, to subdue all that oppose us, to set out ourselves in as much splendour as we can, to live highly and magnificently, to eat, and drink, and delight ourselves in the most costly manner, these are the great, the honourable, the desirable things, to which the spirit of the world turns the eyes of all people. And many a man is afraid of standing still, and not engaging in the pursuit of these things, lest the same world should take him for a fool.

To desire such things is part of the nature with which we entered the world. And the desire does not go away simply because we have been born again. Always such matters contend for our heart. But let us be wise in this matter. While not wrong in themselves, corner offices, plaques and gavels, and the indicia of professional success will not carry us into eternity. And they can be a heavy load if they make their way into our hearts.

A street evangelist used to walk among the bustling crowds in the downtown of a major city with a sandwich board. As he walked toward you, the board said "A Fool For Christ!" - as he passed by, you might look around and see the reverse board which inquired, "Whose Fool Are You?"

We will never succeed in putting the things of this world under our feet, no matter how we try. But we serve One who said to each of us "I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Rest from the quest for adequacy and self-esteem. Rest from the need to acquire and achieve. Rest in the midst of the busiest of lives. It is by taking His yoke - coming under His authority - that we are set free from the other demands on our lives.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that I may take my place as Your child. It is a blessed thing that You, and not the fruit of my professional labors, are my life and my eternal reward. Show me today to the good works in which You have ordained that I walk, the "gold, silver, and precious stones" that will endure to all eternity.

~ With thanks to Brent McBurney, Director of Attorney Ministries, Christian Legal Society

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