Fools - April and Otherwise

I'm speaking at a couple of churches this week, and the topic, appropriately enough, is Fools. I've had a blast doing Fool Research, looking at anything the Internet has to offer on Fools and April Fool's Day.

I found a bunch of really good ones, but here are a couple of notable pranks:

In 1957, the BBC announced that, thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. During the broadcast they showed video of Swiss spaghetti farmers harvesting spaghetti from trees. Quite impressive, apparently. They got a huge number of calls from viewers who wanted to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree.

In 1998, Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of their new menu item, a "Left-Handed Whopper." This new whopper included everything the original Whopper had, but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. Apparently thousands of people went into restaurants to request the Left Handed Whopper. And many others requested the old 'right handed' version.

I uncovered too many fool-related quotes to list here, but here’s a few of my favorites:

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." -- Abraham Lincoln

“You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.” -- James Thurber

“It may be true that you can't fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” -- Will Durant

“Life is one fool thing after another, whereas love is two fool things after each other.” -- Oscar Wilde

And, my favorite:
“Author: A fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on tormenting generations to come.” -- Baron de Montesquieu

Biblical Fools
The Bible has a lot to say about foolish behavior. But one thing is clear: in the Bible, foolishness is most often an ethical concept, and goes beyond intellectual ability. In other words, the Bible identifies a Fool as someone whose behavior is contrary to Godly wisdom. Some of my favorite verses:

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. (Psalm 14:1, NIV)

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:30, NIV)

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2, NIV)

This one paints a lovely picture in your mind:
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.(Proverbs 26:11, NIV)

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Jesus speaking, Matthew 7:24-27, NIV)

You know, there is one certainty in this life: storms will come. Many of us are experiencing some pretty severe storms in our lives right now. Unemployment. Illness. Financial problems. Worry for loved ones. But Jesus promises that when we take our stand with Him, when we’ve anchored ourselves in the unmovable, unshakable foundation of His Word, we have the comfort of knowing that we will not be destroyed. No matter how severe the storm is, Jesus is stronger. Our foundation will not crumble. He is the solid Rock.

And you have now received the encapsulated version of my message!