Ah, April Fool’s Day. Without going into detail, April Fool’s Day originated in France in the 16th century, when the king of France adopted a reformed calendar to correct some errors in the calendar they had been using. Up until the change, the New Year celebration began on March 25 and ended April 1. When New Year’s Day was changed to January 1, like all changes, some were slow to adopt the new calendar. In time those who continued to celebrate the New Year from March 25 to April 1, were called April Fools. In time there developed the custom of playing foolish pranks on friends and relatives on April 1, which spread across France and eventually spread to other areas.
The word “fool” is found some 75 times in the Bible. The Hebrew word for “fool” is nabal, meaning senseless, especially of someone who exhibited moral, ethical and religious insensibility in regard to the truth. The Greek word for “foolish” is moros (from where we get our English words moron and moronic), meaning dull in understanding, lacking a grip on reality, brainless, mentally inept, dull of thinking, without an edge, sluggish in mind.
While the Bible uses the word “fool” in regard to describing certain individuals and their character, many are quick to point out that in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:22) Jesus instructs not to call someone a “fool.” Looking at the context of Jesus’ admonition, the Master Teacher is teaching on anger and control of the tongue when He instructs not to call someone a fool. Jesus is not necessarily forbidding the use of the word in its legitimate biblical context, but He is warning of its usage in the wrong tone, attitude, and manner when used as an insulting slur in a fit of rage. Jesus used the word “fool” and “foolish” when speaking of certain individuals, but He did so in order to reveal the nature of one’s state and in hopes of bringing them to faith. It is biblically and morally permissible to describe someone as a fool if it is spoken in its biblical usage and there is a genuine desire for the person’s salvation.
In that light, there are many places in the Bible where the Lord declares someone to be a fool. It would be wise to look at five places where the Word labels someone a “fool.” Is it ever ok to a be fool? Come, let us reason together.
First, there is the Atheistic Fool. We find in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Both the Psalmist and Paul write that the wonder of creation teaches man that there is an Intelligent Designer behind this vast universe. The universe didn’t pop into being by itself. All things that exist have a First Cause behind its existence. The Psalmist says to try and argue that there is no God is foolish and unwise. For one to say there is no God only reveals one’s rebellious heart that seeks to dismiss the very One who created all things. The atheistic fool’s denial flies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, including one’s own conscience and the wonder of the universe that clearly echoes the Voice of the Creator.
Second, there is the Deceived Fool. Proverbs 14:9 reads, “Fools make a mock at sin.” The author of Hebrews warns about the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:12-13). The deceitfulness of sin whispers in our ears, “You can disobey and leave God out of your life with no adverse consequences resulting.” That is truly a lie from the Great Deceiver, the Devil. He is a master at convincing people to be their own god, that you don’t need God and if you obey the very one who created you it will cramp your style. Such thinking is foolish and disastrous. It will not only lead to a life (and a society) that will eventually shipwreck on rocks of willful defiance, it will lead to the dire consequences of spending eternity separated from the very presence of God who has prepared heaven for those who embrace Jesus Christ.
Third, there is the Neglectful Fool. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells the story of two men. Both built what seemed to others nice houses that were admired by onlookers. Then one day a torrential rain came, and one house withstood the storm, while the other house collapsed. The difference? One wisely built his house upon a rock foundation, the other neglected to build his house on a firm foundation, foolishly building his house on sand. Because of his neglect, the house collapsed in the storm. Many people foolishly build their lives on faulty foundations like money, fame, prestige, heritage, pride, unrestrained living, etc. From the outside all appears well, but when the storms of life come, they collapse in the winds, floods and shifting sands of adversity. When one builds their life on other than a firm foundation of a relationship with Jesus Christ they are building on sand. Christ is the Stone made without hands (Daniel 2:45) and when one builds their life on Him, while we may tremble in the storms of life, the Rock on which one has built their life will never tremble.
Fourth, there is the Unprepared Fool. In Luke 12:16-21 Jesus tells the story of a man who was careful to make detailed plans for this life in regard to materialistic possessions. However, he made no preparations for life after death, and Jesus said of His unpreparedness when death visited his luxurious home, “Thou fool” (Luke 12:20). He was a fool because he neglected to prepare his soul for death. He left God out of his life; he neglected Jesus Christ, God’s remedy for human sin; he neglected God’s only means to enter heavens gates; he neglected the truth that it was appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement. Because we know not the day or hour when that “appointment day” will be, we need to heed the warning of Paul, “Today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). For one not to prepare for the day one departs this earthly world and stands before the Lord, is a fool indeed. The wise will make preparation for that inevitable day.
Fifth, there is the Fool for Christ. Paul declared that he was a fool for Christ (I Cor 4:10). The skewed perception of the world and the mind of God as found within the Word are diametrically opposed. The very core of Christianity appears foolish to the world. While the Bible teaches those who deny God, who live without Christ, who don’t make preparation for the afterlife are fools, the world teaches the opposite, that those who trust in the Lord, who seek to obey the Lord and the Bible’s precepts, and who hold to the hope of heaven, are fools for doing so. Paul appeared to be foolish in the eyes of his contemporaries, most of all in his preaching of the “foolish” Gospel of Christ crucified (I Cor. 1:18-23). Yet in actuality Paul was the wise one.
What does it mean to be a fool for Christ? It means one has embraced Jesus as Savior and Lord of thier lives; it means one whose mind is shaped by a biblical worldview; it is one who seeks to have an ever-developing relationship with the resurrected Christ; it is one who is guided by moral values that are in direct contradiction to the values of this world; it is one who instead of promoting their self, exalts the name of Jesus; it is one who instead of seeking to be served desires to reach out and serve others; it is one who instead of hating, seeks to love; it is one who instead of seeking revenge, extends forgiveness; it is one who instead of laying up only treasures in this life, is storing up treasures in heaven; it is one who trusts the Lord in the good and bad; it is one who each day realizes they are saved by grace and grace alone; it is one who walks by faith and hope knowing there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain. If all this makes one a fool in the eyes of the world…. then that is ok…. unashamedly embrace the categorization of being a fool for Christ as a worthy badge of honor.
Have a great April Fool’s Day!