A thought about the least of these…
Posted on February 12, 2013
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 states, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before him.” We have all read this verse and assumed God wants us to do foolish and embarrassing actions to reveal his divinity to the world.
However, if you look at this verse in context, you clearly see the author pointing at a different conclusion. Verse 26 says, “Brothers, think of what you WERE when you WERE called. Not many of you WERE wise by human standards; not many WERE influential; not many WERE of noble birth.” With verse 26 firmly set in place, verses 27-29 take on an entirely new meaning. God chooses people who the world would never choose. God loves to elevate the least of these. He loves to celebrate what has been relegated for the landfill of life. The otherness of this Kingdom is not by small margins.
Only God would pick someone who everyone else rejected, restore their identity, give them influence, and turn the world upside down through their life. God choosing the foolish things does not mean God asking you to do things that embarrass you. God choosing the foolish things is God believing in people who everyone else has given up on. He unravels what we WERE, to unveil who we ARE, in Him. This is the gospel of God’s grace. Think about it. Jacob, Joseph, Gideon, David, the disciples, the woman at the well, the demoniac, the poor. These are God’s chosen instruments to demonstrate His Kingdom. Even the apostle who penned these verses unlearned all that found him success in order to properly learn the upside down ways of this Kingdom.
Remember Paul, who by all estimates, was amazing at performance. He states in Philippians that as far as legalistic righteousness, he was faultless. Faultless! We know that it was somewhere between 3-14 years before Paul really breaks out on the scene to advance the Kingdom with power and authority. What do you think was happening in that time? While we don’t know, my guess is God was undoing Paul’s identity based around his performance in his own strength and power. What’s the point? God’s Kingdom does not look like the world’s system. The lowly are elevated. While, the elevated must be retrained to learn to live and expand the borders of the Kingdom. Believe in people who others have tossed aside. God is in the business of confounding the wisdom of the world even if it lies within the minds of believers. Think different. Repent!