1 Corinthians 4:9
9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!
It seems like every week brings another headline about a politician or pastor who has strayed from his or her integrity. We read about affairs, theft, addictions, abuse, and all manner of immorality. The news media is the new Roman circus, merciless and deadly, drawing blood from every victim it can get its hands on. The saddest part is when one of those publicly-exposed “victims” says that although he himself strayed from God’s standard, that doesn’t mean God’s standard is less powerful or unnecessary. I can pray for such folks who have fallen like that, but I have to say, their behavior makes fools of all of us believers.
That is NOT what Paul was talking about in today’s verses from his first letter to the believers in Corinth. On the contrary, Paul is telling the Corinthians that he and his fellow apostles are the ones held up for ridicule and scorn, because the world finds their Godly behavior offensive. While the Corinthians bask in the peace of their newfound faith, caught up in petty disputes and word games, the apostles are out in the world facing persecution and death. While the “babes” in faith are judging each other, the world is judging the apostles and condeming them to death for speaking the truth in faith. While the Corinthians now feel themselves so “wise” for having accepted Christ, the apostles are cast as “fools for Christ’s sake,” left hungry and thirsty, beaten and reviled, as they pursue Christ’s command that they “preach the gospel to every creature.”(Mark 16:15)
If we are going to be a “spectacle to the world,” shouldn’t it be because we LIVE a life of faith rather than FAIL in our faith? Rather than claiming higher moral authority, shouldn’t we be demonstrating that authority through word and deed? Today in America, Christians are often thought of as fools not because of our faith but because of the spectacle created by those who so publicly fail.
Today, let us commit ourselves to being Christ’s new “fools,” willing to face any sort of persecution for His name’s sake. And also let us commit to supporting each other – especially those who “rule” over us in office or pulpit – through prayer and fasting. Let us truly create a spectacle for the world to see the vast riches of the gospel of Christ.
Almighty Father, thank You for the abundance of Your mercy and grace. I am just as much a sinner as any man or woman. But, Lord God, I seek Your face today, and I pray that You will reign in my life so I will not stray from You. Be with our politicians and our pastors today, dear God, and strengthen them to hold fast to their integrity and, more importantly, to hold fast to You. Amen.