It’s been a little over a week since April Fool’s Day. Most of us have occasionally been the victim of an April Fool’s Day joke, where a friend or family member tries to trick us into thinking something was true when it wasn’t.
And some of us may remember famous jokes from years past, when large numbers of people were “held hostage” by a story on the news. Do you remember, for example, the hoax of spaghetti growing on trees?
Of course, that’s normally just a bit of nonsense. But seriously, having said that none of us would like to be called a “fool”, and none of us would want to make a foolish decision, which would have serious consequences in our homes or on the farm. Yet, if we’re being honest, most of us have done some stupid things sometimes.
As a simple example, I remember helping a farmer bring in barley straw at harvest time years ago. The farmer’s wife would build the bales on the trailer, and I would toss them and move the tractor around as needed. Now the trailer didn’t have an end panel to hold the bales, so when I went up a slight hill at one point the whole load slipped out the back, including the builder. Amazingly, she landed on her feet among the balls and no harm was done – the result of my stupid uphill turn.
Jesus once told a parable about a farmer whom he called a fool. You can read it in Luke 12:13-21. This man had obviously worked hard and done well, so much so that he looked ahead and decided to expand, build more storage space for his crops, and then relax (at least the he thought). Now, there was nothing wrong with his hard work, or the fact that he had become rich. So why did Jesus call him a fool? The answer was simple: he forgot God!
You see, here are three important truths we read about in the Bible: (1) There is a great God who created us (Acts 17:24-26), and (2) He is perfectly holy, but we have all sinned. . against Him (Romans 3:23). But the good news of the gospel is that, (3) through the death of Jesus, we can be redeemed, or set free from our sin, and be ready to meet our God, if we know Jesus as our Savior (Romans 3: 24 ).
We are now approaching Easter, when Christians especially remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. Writing to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul speaks of how many in his day considered “the message of the cross” to be folly (1 Corinthians 1:18). And it’s still the same today.
Many people in our society would consider believing in Jesus, who died on a cross to save sinners, to be nonsense. But Paul reminds us that the opposite is true. The message of the cross is not folly, but rather “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-25).
We must therefore be wise and ‘seek the Lord while he is found’ (Isaiah 55:6). Why? Because it would indeed be very foolish to be like the farmer in the parable, leaving God out of our minds, and coming to the end of our lives without knowing Jesus.
The Reverend Dr Kenneth Patterson is a former GP who was ordained for ministry in 1990. He retired in 2013 after 19 years as a minister at Castledawson and Curran Presbyterian Churches in South Derry. Having worked on farms during his student days, before becoming a minister, he now enjoys restoring vintage farm machinery as a hobby.
If you would like to speak to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Reverend Kenny Hanna, ICP Rural Chaplain at [email protected] or call him on 07938 488 372.