You’re Too Old, Fat Man
Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world . . . 1 Corinthians 1:26-28
Relative to those I compete with at the gym, I’m getting up there in years. Still, I manage to get myself out of bed and try every day. My age is a source of good-natured ribbing, which I can’t do much about, and so, I laugh along. The painful truth is, I am getting older and slower. As if my age weren’t enough, I’m also a little on the heavy side, which a couple of times lately, has also been a source of fuel for the humor of others. Again, I find it funny, and I know it’s true, but it still stings a little to hear out loud. There’s no point in avoiding the truth though, even when it hurts. Unlike my age, I can do something about my weight, and I’ll never get anywhere as long as I ignore the uncomfortable truth.
This seems to be Paul’s tone in today’s passage when he asked those in the Corinthian church to engage in honest introspection. He instructed them to consider the fact that they weren’t wise, powerful, or noble. He called them foolish, weak, shameful, low, and despised by the world. It had to be a little hurtful, or even amusing maybe, to hear Paul call them those things. What a bunch of Losers . . . Yet, Paul said, God chose them.
God doesn’t look for the cream of the crop or use the elite for his purposes. It seems God specializes in taking those whom the world deems worthless and transforms them in his wisdom and power. When we think we’re remarkable, we’re worthless to God. When we’re self-sufficient and believe that we’re kind of a big deal, we don’t need God and we cannot rely on him. It’s only when we realize how lowly, helpless, and hopeless we are on our own, that we learn faith. It’s only in our weakness that we find God’s strength.
So, even if it hurts, we must face this truth. We are lost on our own. We’re not amazing and we’re not self-sufficient. As long as we remain impressed with ourselves, we don’t need God and we remain unable to find him. It’s only in humbly accepting the truth – we desperately need God – that we turn to him, finding faith, recovery, and authentic life.