Emerald hills. Poofy clouds. Colbalt skies. Red noses and eyes. All signs of spring. Oh, and April Fools.
April 1 is one of those awkward days. It’s fun to dish out but not always to take. It’s often a day of uneasy apprehension as we wait for a lurking surprise; sometimes over and over.
I can’t remember how many years Mom sewed shut the opening of my step-Dad’s underwear to usher in every April. Dad fell for it every 12 months.
One year, when April Fool’s fell on a Sunday, we pranked our former pastor by sitting in different seats. As he looked out for familiar faces he became discombobulated. He only made it about 5 minutes before stopping the sermon and ordering us to return to our home seats.
Of course, we can be fooled on the other 364 days of the year, as well. Years ago, two of us in our small office decided to celebrate a manager after she graduated college so after she left for the day we wrapped her entire workstation in aluminum foil. And I do mean the entire workspace: chair, desk, pencils, mouse cord (before the days of wireless!), picture frames, computer, bulletin board. EVERYTHING! The final product was reminiscent of movies where the crazy lady uses foil to block the government from eavesdropping.
Foolishness for sure.
My favorite prank actually was one I turned around on co-workers at a different job. One of them approached me about helping jump-start his car. As we left the building and headed up the stairs to the parking lot I noticed instantly that my car had been moved. I sniffed the shenanigans right off and my brain kicked into overdrive.
“Wait, Vince,” I offered. “I can’t help you start your car. I forgot that I don’t have it today. It’s in the shop. Eugene brought me to work. I’m so sorry.”
I turned around, my inner peacock gloating, and headed back down the stairs. Vince was still standing there trying to figure out what was what when I re-entered the building through an adjacent door to the one we had just used. Hidden by a partition, I waited to watch the fallout.
Vince came back inside where he was greeted by a co-conspirator.
“I don’t know what happened,” Vince told her. “She said her car is in the shop. Whose car did we move?”
They were so irritated I spoiled their fun that they refused to tell me where they parked the car. After a 45-minute search I found it in a nearby alley.
Sometimes, we are made a fool unintentionally—and sometimes of our own making. One night Eugene and were dining in a restaurant when I got up to use the restroom. I lost my balance and fell into the backside of a mammoth mahogany wine case. It was 5 feet high and about 8 feet wide. The owner had not secured it and the entire case toppled over on its face, spilling wine bottles that shattered as each one slid from its perch, hitting the tile floor. Even before I landed on my bottom, a mental calculator began counting the cost of each bottle as it crashed on the floor. $20, $75, $140, $225, $575.
Fortunately, most of the bottles were just empty props! Better still, all of the customers who were sitting nearby had just left so no one was hurt. You can be sure we made a quick retreat and never returned.
As painful as it seems, believers should be comfortable with being perceived as fools. We should wear the moniker as a crown. Throughout 1 Corinthians, for instance, Paul discusses how God’s Word is confusing to the unbeliever.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
As our Connect Group is finding out with our book study, “Not a Fan,” true followers are expected to suffer for the sake of Christ. We are not to file away our eternal insurance policy and wait for the final act. The Lord has called us to a much deeper journey, as we see in Luke 9:23.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
There are four distinction actions tied up in this small sentence:
- Come – the act of pursuit
- Deny – the act of selflessness
- Take up the Cross – the act of (daily) sacrifice
- Follow – the act of continuous movement in the shadow of our leader
The discussion goes far deeper than we can cover here but rest assured that, to the world, it’s complete and utter foolishness. So our decision is, do we take comfort in comfort and or do we risk our reputation-and safety-by being seen as a fool. Some days it comes easier than others, but a key component to Luke 9:23 is that it is a daily decision.
I for one prefer the aluminum foil.
Fooling around with you,