Normally our word of the week is a positive, uplifting and encouraging word. However, since today is April 1st, known in the United States as “April Fool’s Day, let’s consider the word “fool.”
It reminds me of a great story told about the famous 19th century American Evangelist D. L. Moody. He was known for his preaching campaigns which attracted large and enthusiastic crowds. They were also attended by hecklers who vehemently disagreed with his preaching.
In the final service of one meeting, an atheist who had been heckling Moody the entire campaign sent him a note by one of the ushers just as he was approaching the lectern.
Supposing it was an announcement that needed to be read, Moody opened the note and quieted the audience. Scrawled in large print was one word: FOOL.
Never at the loss for words the colorful Evangelist said, “I have just been handed a memo which contains the single word – ‘Fool’. This is most unusual. I’ve often heard of those who have written letters and forgotten to sign their names, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone who signed his name and then forgot to write the letter!”
Taking advantage of the unique situation, Moody promptly changed his sermon text to Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God!’”
Most Christians quickly agree that the atheist is a fool and can quote this verse affirming such. However, there are many other kinds of fools described in God’s Word. Here are three.
1. A prideful person is a fool.
The Bible says,” The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall” (Prov. 10:8).
It is a foolish person so filled with pride that won’t listen to wise counsel. Hear the advice of godly friends. Or heed the warnings of God’s Word. In fact, it’s a waste of time to reason with a person who is imprudent, indiscreet and just plain foolish. Why? Because “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes (Prov. 12:15).
(2) An easily angered person is a fool.
The wise man observed that “A fool’s wrath is known at once” (Prov.12:16).
A foolish person has a “short fuse.” It doesn’t take much to set them off. They are easily annoyed, antagonized, and angered. Instead of ignoring some perceived slight they quickly began to spew the venom of their vengeance.
Rage, wrath, and resentment boil over and produce a fury of angry words, ungodly actions and insane accusations. The fool uncontrollably vents when he ought to restrain himself and refrain from unleashing his ridiculous rage.
(3) A person who trusts in wealth, while forgetting God is a fool.
Jesus offered this warning in the parable of the rich farmer (Lk 12:16-21). His fields were fertile and his crops were plentiful. With barns already filled, he decided to build bigger barns. Ten times in the parable he uses personal pronouns as he thought about his situation. “My crops.” “My barns.” My goods.” Even “my soul.”
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
Jesus then offered this observation. “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Riches are not wrong. But trusting in wealth is. And selfishness is a sin. Whatever prosperity I possess is a gift of God. I enjoy it with a spirit of gratitude, giving God thanks. And realizing it’s not the most important thing in life. Indeed money is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.
Sadly fools never learn. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Prov. 26:11)
While most of us have acted foolish at times, that doesn’t make one a fool. As businessman, Jim Fiebig, opines, “You are not a fool just because you have done something foolish–only if the folly of it escapes you.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman