Worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom
1 Corinthians 1.18-31 (New Revised Standard Version)
For 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. For it is written,
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’
God could have revealed himself in any number of ways, by means of jaw-dropping signs or by huge displays of his awesome power. He could have opened the eyes of the doubters, unbelievers and cynics with just a wave of his hand. The Jews who demanded tangible proof in the form of a miracle before they would believe, or the Gentiles who couldn’t accept something without evidence based in quantifiable wisdom could have been easily appeased.
God could have had a grand ‘all bells and whistles’ expose in the company of the social elite, the rich and famous, the powerful ‘influencers’ of the day. He could have stood proudly before the brightest, wisest people of the age, the kinds of crowd a king would be expected to keep company with.
He did something so unexpected, so controversial that, frankly, people would think his actions crazy, removed from reality, odd, even dangerous. He used preaching, talking, as a way to tell his message of sacrifice by Jesus on the cross, and his resurrection so that we may be forgiven, receive salvation, be filled with his Holy Spirit, and enjoy a personal relationship with himself.
I can just see the people shaking their heads, laughing, mocking even when they heard this. Yet, I can imagine God answering:
“Why do you think you are better than anyone else? Do you think you are superior because you are worldly wise, wealthy or have a first-class education? You think your great wisdom matters? Think again! Yes, it’s true that these other folks may be barely literate, homeless, displaced or despised, poor in every way that you ‘wise’ men and women hold dear. But I tell you, and let there be no doubt in your minds, these souls are rich beyond belief because of their love for me and mine for them. The day will come when they will celebrate and rejoice with me in heaven while you are weeping with desolation, unless you listen to the truth they preach in my name.”
Jesus never made the easy choice, or bowed to popular opinion. He didn’t choose his disciples based on their wisdom, competence, talent or status. He chose people who were broken, damaged, of low-birth, unclean, uneducated, unwise. In other words, folks who really had little or nothing to endear themselves to society.
In Philippians we are reminded by Paul that “He (Jesus) made himself NOTHING. He took the very nature of a servant.” Someone very lowly.
Today, in the midst of a pandemic we have seen some of the world’s brightest minds working together to develop a vaccine for Covid. We are grateful for and humbled by their ceaseless endeavours. We have prayed earnestly for God to impart his wisdom to the scientists and are thankful that he has.
If God has his pick of mankind’s most brilliant people who have wisdom beyond measure, why on earth would he even consider wanting someone like me? Surely, there has to be someone better qualified, someone more competent to share his message with the world.
Well, this brings me back to today’s bible reflection. We don’t have to be theologians or scientists, educators or have a super IQ. to be chosen and used by God. Jesus didn’t use that criteria when he called his disciples over 2000 years ago, and he doesn’t today. He meets us however and wherever we are.
If we have faith, a contrite heart and ask for God’s salvation, if we love him as much as he does us …
We are enough.
Hub Leadership Team