More Than Kumbaya

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking at a high school camp. As I prepared for those messages, it brought back memories of my own high school camp experience 20-some (GULP) years ago. Camp was always the highlight of the summer — “Summer Charge”. Inevitably there were great memories with friends, pranks, people who started romantic relationships and spiritual growth. I’m sure we all can relate to similar campfire experiences (and the people that liked the campfire simply for the “huggy” time).

I am reminded, however, that more than summer programming, camp was an incredible time of God working in the lives of my friends and I. It brought forth an awakening to things much larger than ourselves. Something that would shape us in profound ways.

Over my high school years, I experienced some great speakers at camp. Men that loved Jesus and desired teenage students to know him and love him as well. However, as I reflect over my high school experience along with the many different speakers, there are not many messages, that I remember. Actually the number of messages remembered could be counted on one or two fingers and those date back to my freshman year.

It was that year that we had a speaker by the name of Jerry Rife. He was older than most speakers that we had experienced, yet you had the feeling that he was still no one to trifle with. Tall. Buzz cut. Retired Marine. His voice was gruff, but his heart was pure.

Through a matter of circumstances, Jerry only spoke for half the week, but yet something he said still rings in my ears all of these years later.

“Everybody is somebody’s fool. I’m a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?”

I’m a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you? He nailed that statement over and over again, each time driving the point deeper and deeper into our souls. The point stuck. All of these years later, the point stuck.

There are things that we all get foolish about. Just watch when someone’s team is approaching the playoffs, tech-nerds when a new device comes out or screaming, crying fans at a boy band concert. Everyone has the desire to follow something greater than themselves. Something that gives meaning. Something that they are willing to sacrifice for. Those sacrifices can take all kinds of forms. Time. Health. Money. Relationships. Pleasure.

Yet, Paul reminds us that there is something that is worth being considered foolish for. Something that is foolish in the eyes of the world and yet is the very thing that gives life and hope.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18

The world says, “Spend now. Enjoy now. Live for now.” The cross says that there is something much better than the now. That we need to be saved from the now. Now is broken. Any number of pursuits that this world offers will only result in brokenness. A broken world cannot offer wholeness. It cannot bring the healing that we so desperately need. That is something only the cross can do.

The cross while looking foolish to the world is the very thing that brings healing. That is why Paul could say he was not ashamed of it (Romans 1:16). The ultimate fool is the one who rejects God’s provision. There are fools of the world and there are fools of the cross. Fools of the world end up being the biggest fools of all. Fools of the cross end up being no fools at all.

I’m a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?

So glad that my heart is tethered to Jesus because of his work and not mine. I know my heart and its tendency to be foolish for things other than Jesus. Distraction. Temptation. Failure. Yet he is faithful. I can be a fool for him because I am his. HIS.

I’m a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?

The question still rings in my ears years later. It’s a question that I asked 130 high school students two weeks ago. It’s a question that determines the focus and course of your life. May we all, starting with me, grow in our understanding of what it means to be his. May we, like David, be willing to be considered even greater fools in the eyes of the world for the sake of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:22).

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