Will you be a fool for Christ?
I read through the Old Testament recently and was struck by the many different responses people had to God calling them to a task. Some people refused the job and ran the other way (remember Jonah?). Some people needed a lot of convincing that God was really calling them (Gideon and his fleece). But some people had a conversation with God that changed the trajectory of their whole life.
Moses received his calling through an encounter with a burning bush. God told Moses that He had seen the misery of His people in Egypt and He intended to rescue them. “So now, go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:10). Moses answered with a question: “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11).
At first blush, we might think Moses is being humble. But Moses has more questions, and it is clear as the conversation proceeds that his fears about the whole endeavor outweigh any excitement over being chosen by God. Eventually he begs, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it” (Ex. 4:13).
Moses is not exactly enthused about his calling.
Isaiah had a vision of the Lord seated on His throne and angels surrounding Him calling, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Is. 6:3). Isaiah’s response?
“Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Is. 6:5). Modern translation: I’m not worthy!
Isaiah may have had concerns about his worthiness, but when God asked who He could send to speak to His people, Isaiah enthusiastically responded, “Here am I. Send me!” (Is. 6:8).
Isaiah is raring to go.
You probably haven’t encountered a burning bush or had a vision of the throne room of God (if you have, I want to hear that story!), but I bet God has asked you to serve Him in some way. How have you responded?
Have you asked for someone else to do it?
Or maybe you are waiting for that big calling, that moment when you know that you have discovered your life’s work and have been invited into something bigger than yourself. How are you following Him in the meantime? Are you enthusiastic and resolute no matter how small the task?
Many years ago, I discovered a song by Nichole Nordeman called “Fool For You.” In it, she declares to Jesus that she will be a fool for Him, going against those who say her faith is naïve and serving Him no matter what. I loved that sentiment and I sang it out to Jesus with all the conviction of someone who had no idea how resistant she was to actually looking foolish.
I was as enthusiastic as Isaiah but as unmotivated as Moses.
One afternoon, I was baking Christmas cookies and was reminded that we needed to put our trash cans out for pick-up in the morning. In that instant, I felt a little nudge from the Holy Spirit that I should take some cookies out to the garbage collectors when they came. Wait. No, that can’t be right. I can’t take cookies out to the garbage men! It would be so awkward! They’ll think I’m a total kook! What are the chances I could catch them just as they are pulling up? That couldn’t be the Holy Spirit – it must be indigestion.
I shook it off.
The next morning, I was in the kitchen when I heard the garbage truck down the street. Lord, I do not want to do this! Surely you have more important things for me to do! How will this further your kingdom? Fine. I’ll do it.
I stepped awkwardly out to my driveway holding two cookie boxes and feeling like an utter fool. I waved down the garbage men and shoved the cookies in their hands, giving an awkward ‘Merry Christmas’ and then making my escape as quickly as possible.
The girl who confidently sang that she would be a fool for Christ could barely summon the courage to obey a nudge to give away Christmas cookies. I was not off to a good start.
Since then, God has called me to do other things that had the potential to make me look foolish. Starting this blog is one of them. Along the way, He has consistently uncovered in me a stubborn obsession with people pleasing and image management. He has revealed that my desire to ‘do big things for God’ is often a sideways approach to ‘doing big things for me.’ He has exposed my pride and insecurity and asked me to lay them down and serve Him with humility.
You and I do not need dramatic stories of visions and burning bushes to know that we have been called by God. We know that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). We’ve received the Great Commission to be ambassadors of Him to a hurting world.
So what’s stopping us?
Fear of failure? Fear of looking foolish?
Are we worried about missing some big calling on our life while we miss a million little callings?
God, give us the courage to be men and women enthusiastic to follow you, resolute in the face of opposition, and humble enough to be fools for you. Keep us from wasting our lives on people pleasing and image management and let our lives bear fruit for your kingdom!
What is God asking you to do today?
Praying for you,