At this time of year, we may play practical jokes on people, and they on us, and find the process a lot of fun. This is the significance of the morning of April 1st. We may also remember some memorable ‘spoofs’ on radio, television and other media that have been most convincing and have fooled many.
However, our ‘headline’ contains the words of King Saul, and they do not convey something that is amusing or funny.[i] Saul had just escaped death at the hands of a man, David, whom he had persecuted and pursued to kill because he saw him as his rival. David and his soldiers had stood at Saul’s side whilst he was asleep and could have killed him but didn’t. Rather, they had taken items to show to Saul what could have happened. Now, Saul was forced to admit that he had got it all wrong, he had been a fool. The sadness of Saul’s admission is that he didn’t change his attitude towards David or change his approach to life. The Bible describes it this way, ‘Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool’.[ii]
Similarly, there is a parable or story recorded in Luke chapter 12. It tells of a farmer who received a bumper crop and who sat down to consider his future. Essentially, he decided that his ‘windfall’ could set him up for life, he could relax, give up work and have ‘a good time’.
The story outlines the approach to life of many. Happiness, we are led to believe, can be found in wealth and possessions. We buy a scratch card; we play the lottery, in the assumption that a win can resolve the problems of life. Perhaps we need to heed God’s verdict upon the rich farmer – ‘Fool!’[iii]
The lesson is simple – ‘one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’.[iv] Rather, says the Bible, ‘Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute [reckon] sin’.[v] Happiness is found in a relationship with God based on our sins (our wrong doings) being forgiven. All that stood against us to condemn us in God’s sight can be removed if we have a Saviour, One who has taken our sin and borne its punishment that we might go free.
Do you have a Saviour, or are you playing the fool?