“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”–1 Cor. 1:27
April is here. That means the “March Madness” portion of the NCAA basketball tournament has come to an end, with many a scorched bracket left in shambles and plenty of red-faced basketball experts left trying to explain what went wrong with their picks. The Final Four awaits, this Saturday, with the championship game on Monday night.
I, for one, love it when the Butler’s and Virginia Commonwealth’s confound the wisdom of the basketball world and pull off the upsets that take them to the Final Four. I think that’s what makes the NCAA Tournament the most exciting couple of weeks in sports, when the Cinderellas get to go to the dance, and when David takes out his sling and slays the giant Goliaths.
It’s funny that all four top seeds in the tournament will have nice seats to watch this year’s Final Four–in the comfort of their dorm rooms in front of their televisions, while at least a couple of the so-called overachievers from smaller schools and not-so-Big 6 conferences compete for the national championship. It sounds like something right out of one of my favorite movies,Hoosiers (which not so coincidentally, the final game was played in Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis).
There’s something about the underdogs that draw our attention, especially for us as followers of Christ. The whole history of God’s work in Scripture involves Him using the “foolish things of the world to shame the wise;” from having a shepherd boy defeat a giant warrior, to bringing the King of kings into the world by way of a poor, unwed teenage girl, to bringing salvation to the world through that King by way of the least likely place, an old rugged cross usually reserved for the worst of humankind.
Certainly that cross was not foolish, any more than the man who died on it, but it sure seemed that way to a world that just didn’t get it, because it was looking for wisdom and strength, not foolishness and weakness. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Cor. 1:25)
The good news for us all is this: instead of using the wise, the mighty and the noble God continually and conspicuously chooses to use the foolish, the weak, the base, the useless, the unknown and the nobodies to accomplish His will on the earth. And that means He’s not looking just for the #1 seeds to do His work; He uses ordinary folks like you and me. Sometimes He chooses the least likely to succeed to do His will, so that in the end it is He who is glorified through the process.
I hope you enjoy the Final Four this weekend, if you’re one to watch those kinds of things. More than that, I pray that no matter how messed-up your brackets may be, you’ll find your joy and your security in the cross of Christ, the foolishness of God by which we have eternal salvation through Him. I also hope you’ll make the effort to allow Him to use you this month, however weak or foolish you may feel. You just might be surprised when you look back in 30 days to see what He did through April fools like us.
I count it such a privilege to be your pastor, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.