“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25, ESV).
My father is 89. He retired as an internist at 82. When he started his practice, the internist was the top diagnostician in the medical system, but brilliant diagnoses are not the stories he tells.
When he was in early practice, he was caring for a very elderly man from rural Tennessee who was suffering from metastatic prostate cancer. My father was trying to convince him to accept an orchiectomy in order to diminish the pain in his bones. No matter how my father encouraged him, the old man would not accept the surgery.
My father pleaded, “But you don’t need them anymore!”
The man was resilient in his refusal, “I know I don’t need them anymore, Doc. But they sure do dress a man up.”
Am I holding on to anything that “dresses me up” but prevents me from becoming the person God wants me to be?
How about my reputation?
Up until now I’ve been able to wear the label of a “Christian doctor” and at the same time remain respected by my colleagues. I work hard at that. I think it brings honor to Christ. But in doing so, I need to ask myself a relevant question: when I choose to be a respectable Christian, what kind of Christian do I choose to be?
Flannery O’Connor, the great southern Catholic novelist once wrote, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.”
Paul put it differently: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18a, NIV 1984).
How willing am I to be clearly related to the foolishness of Christ? Am I willing to take off the respect that “dresses me up” in order to put on the foolishness of God?
Am I willing to speak up for His honor in a crowd that seeks their own? Am I willing to show Jesus to a world that thinks He is a childish fable?
I don’t know. But sometime in this life I need to become consistent in my thinking. If Christ is the source of my eternal hope, He is certainly more important than the transient respect with which I choose to “dress myself up.”
Let me be willing to be foolish for you.