I don’t enjoy feeling like a fool. Who does? I go out of my way to avoid situations that could create the possibility. Dye my hair a crazy color? Probably not going to happen. Silly group games? Eh, I’ll pass. Dancing? Not a chance. I think it’s fun when other people do those things, but I prefer to be an observer instead of a participant.
However, the Bible is filled with people who looked foolish—people who did things that caused others to look on in bewilderment. Hosea picked a prostitute for a wife. Isaiah walked around nude and barefoot. David danced naked—the same man who volunteered to go head to head with Goliath, armed only with a sling and a stone. Paul exchanged power and prestige for persecution and prison.
Perhaps Jesus was the biggest “fool” of all. He left a perfect heaven to come into this world through humble means. He spent time with the lowly—tax collectors, fishermen, the sick. He loved those that most passed without a second glance. Jesus didn’t walk around with a “holier than thou” attitude, even though He was—and is—holier than everyone. Even on the cross, after the crowds yelled, “Crucify Him!” (Mark 15:13), He asked the Father to forgive them.
In Life Together, his book on Christian community, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:
Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies . . . so the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. 'The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people.
God calls us to do things that don’t make sense to the world—things that cause people to look at us and wonder why. Turn the other cheek. Welcome prodigal sons. Love those who persecute you. We aren’t just called to love the “roses and lilies,” but the addicted, the impoverished, the outcast. We’re called to love, with expectations of nothing in return. We’re called to act a little foolish.
Since I’m rhythm impaired, you probably won’t ever see me dance. But maybe letting third grade girls dye my hair bright green for kid’s camp wouldn’t be so bad…
Read more about the “foolishness of God” in the article, “Holy, Holy, Folly,” by Matt Woodley in the current issue of In Touch Magazine.