In my column today, I want to consider an issue that is seldom contemplated or discussed by most.
Perhaps the reason why we (as frail, finite, and often fickle human beings) do not give much thought and talk toward the subject of foolishness is simply because we are guilty of being or doing foolish things occasionally.
Let me be the first to admit, or should I say confess, to the foolish things that I have done over the years, many of which brought economic detriment and embarrassment upon me. I well remember those episodes of my life that I now look back on with laughter. However, when I did the foolish things and reaped the consequences, it certainly was no laughing matter. In my autobiographical book, “Growing Old in Newtown,” I shared some of the hilarious and even fool hearted things I either did or was a part of perpetrating. Even as an adult, I have been guilty of doing some foolish things. I am going to share some real life incidents of people who did some foolish things. I will conclude it with perhaps one of the greatest fools in history and why I consider him the king of fools.
A few years ago, a young man, who I originally met in Capetown, South Africa during one of my many visits there, was fortunate enough to come to America for a visit. This is one of the great desires of most people in the third world. My family and I sponsored his trip and hosted him while he was here.
Coming from a large city like Capetown, he really did not enjoy being in our little small, rural community. Of course, he enjoyed staying at my house and interacting with my family, especially my son.
The two of them (being the same age) had become close friends a few years earlier when my family had accompanied me to Capetown for a conference. However, his greatest aspiration about coming to America was to visit New York City, especially Manhattan.
I made some arrangements for him to go to New York and stay with a pastor and his family, who were a part of the fellowship of churches that are under my episcopal oversight. While in New York, he wanted to go on Broadway and watch a certain play that he had heard so much about.
Once he and his escort arrived at the theater, it was difficult for them to purchase a ticket because the line was so long and the space inside was quickly filling up.
His escort, who was a native New Yorker, told him to stay put while he went and tried another way of securing the tickets. A man approached him while he was waiting on his escort to return.
He assured him that he could get some tickets, if he would trust him to get them his way. However, there was one stipulation he made to this young and gullible African. He requested that he give him six hundred dollars. He would go get the tickets and that he will be back in no time at all.
Under the charm of this con artist, the young man gave him the money without even thinking and watched him as he disappeared in the crowd to never return. Talk about playing the role of a fool, this young man ranks high on the list. He learned a very valuable and embarrassing lesson in life that he will never forget.
Four Kinds of Fools
In my studies and experiences in life, I have come across a few types of fools. I am going to briefly consider only four in my article today. Perhaps in my very brief consideration of each of these categories, you will be able to identify the fool heartedness in someone you know and have dealings with.
First, there is a category that I have termed as the atheistic fool (see Psalm 14:1). This type of person, in his blind darkened and unbelieving heart, does not believe in the existence of God.
He or she seeks to rationalize or explain away the reality of a supernatural God that is the source of all creation through human logic, reasoning, and fake science and foolish theories, like evolution and the big bang theory. It requires a whole lot more faith to believe that something as systematic and orderly as the universe and our complex ecosystems on planet earth came into existence by random chance. Secondly, there is a category that I have termed as the materialistic fool (see Luke 12:13-21).
Those in this category are covetous and obsessed with the accumulation of more material possessions and wealth to their own detriment. They have foolishly made a god out of their desire and pursuit of more money and possessions.
Each of us will do well to remember that money is a poor and enslaving master, but contrarily, a very good servant when discreetly and compassionately employed. Let us be sure that we are in control of our money and not our money in control of us. Thirdly, there is the category that I have labeled as the wasteful fool (see Luke 15:11-13). Due to the fact that I was once a member of this category of fools, I am somewhat an expert on the undisciplined practice of wasting. I believe that this would perhaps be the biggest category of people who have done some very foolish things that have brought about much waste of their possessions and resources. The old adage that says “a fool and his money is soon parted” is certainly to be considered here.
However, I hope that you have learned your lesson as I have, if you have been guilty of being a waster and have disciplined yourself to be frugal and conservative with your money and possessions.
Finally, I want to comment on this final category in regard to foolishness and sexual stimulants with as much discretion and brevity as I can. Hopefully, my common-sense opinion will help some who have put their lives and health at risk by abusing the legal usage of “the little blue pill” and other stimulants in order to achieve and sustain an erection.
I have personally known quite a few of these gentlemen who played the fool and are no longer with us because they failed to use wisdom in the usage of these risky stimulants. In most cases, they were older men who should have known better. A word to the wise is to use them, if you are a married man and have a problem; and feel that you must. However, use them in moderation under the supervision of your doctor.
of Old Fools
In this final portion of my article today, I am going to introduce you to the king of fools. The mere fact of using his name as an example of one who played the fool is truly an oxymoron when you consider that his name has come to symbolize wisdom and prudence to untold millions (myself included) for well over two thousand years. I literally had to go against the grain of both religious and secular thought and tradition to accept what I believe the Spirit of God, as well as the Scriptures, were speaking to me about the foolishness of King Solomon in his old age and twilight years. He was the wisest and richest of the kings.
He was the man who God probably used to write the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes that are commonly considered by many biblical scholars to be the poetic books of wisdom. His flaws and failings in his old age does not, in any way, discredit the authenticity and inerrancy of these books. What it does prove is that Solomon was a man of like passions and weaknesses, like we are, who was overwhelmed by temptation and rebellion in his old age. I will let the scriptural narrative settle the matter, as well as be my conclusion:
“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.
As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.” (1 Kings 11:1-8)