I awoke from my Saturday-morning slumber by giggles.
I opened my groggy and sleep-stained eyes, rolled over to my left toward the noise and couldn’t help but smile. Standing in front of me, thinking he was being sneaky, was my five-year-old son. Next to him was my seven-year-old daughter. I caught a whisper.
“Shhhhh, don’t wake him up,” my son said. “He’s going to be so surprised.”
Once we made eye contact, he spilled the beans.
“Daddy, go back to sleep! We’re making booby traps for April Fool’s Day,” he said through chuckles.
That kicked off a day of elementary pranks by my kids on my wife and me. For example, I went to brush my teeth at the urging of my daughter, only to find purple food coloring all over the counter because of an ill-hidden attempt to sabotage my toothpaste and stain my mouth.
As the pranks finally subsided after about 12 hours and I tucked my kids into bed, I reflected on the day. I laughed to myself. A LOT. And as I settled into the evening to read, a much deeper thought entered my cranium.
“You know, we’re all fools,” I told myself. That sent me down a rabbit hole of sorts.
See, while my kids were an external force trying to fool me, I couldn’t help but think of all the times I fool myself. The times that I play the role of internal trickster and prankster. Self-sabotage, if you will.
It sounds like this:
- “What I want is most important.”
- “I can do this on my own.”
- “If only I had ____ I would be happy.”
- “I’m a fraud and an imposter.”
- “There’s no hope.”
- “Things won’t get better.”
- “I deserve whatever I want.”
And on and on and on. Does any of that sound familiar?
Here’s why I think that is: Because we’re all fools. I know that’s not a “ra-ra” thing to hear. But it’s the truth. We’re never as smart as we think. We never deserve to get all the things we want. We’re never out of hope. We are not enough.
In other words, we tell ourselves many lies – those that unnecessarily build us up and those that unnecessarily tear us down. And the reason why comes down to one thing: we have a sinful nature. Sin can be a polarizing word. But in the end, sin is anything that misses the mark of what God originally designed for us.
So when we carry too much pride, that’s sin. But when we refuse to recognize the hope Jesus offers and reject him, that’s sin too.
At this point, maybe you’re wondering what the overall message is. Well, I have some good news about all this fool talk. It’s this: being a fool is actually the path to wisdom. It’s the path to a fulfilled life.
In other words, we have to recognize how foolish we are if we have any hope of growing.
I think two key verses in the Bible are helpful here. The first is 1 Corinthians 3:18:
“Do not deceive yourselves,” it says. “If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.”
I mean, that’s pretty clear-cut, right? But there’s a second element: When we recognize our foolishness, God actually works through that.
Just listen to what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:26-30:
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Here’s the summation: In order to ever find wisdom, we have to first embrace our foolishness; and when we embrace our foolishness, God actually uses us in big ways.
This concept has been around for millennia, by the way. I studied philosophy in college. I remember reading the story of the great philosopher, Socrates. At one point in his life, he was called the wisest man in the world. Do you know why, though? It’s because he realized he wasn’t the wisest man in the world! He recognized his limitations and his shortcomings. And because of that, he was wise.
Friends, I’m calling on all of us to embrace our foolishness. That’s different from celebrating it, by the way. Embracing it leads to a true understanding of who we are and true growth. Celebrating it is simply pride, and pride keeps us stagnant.
When we embrace it, when we realize how much we need Jesus, we actually become something better. Someone better.
So may this day, not just April 1, be our Fool’s Day. It’s the only way to ever unlock true wisdom. To move forward into what God has for us. And that’s exactly where you want to be.