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Nothin’ Like an Ole Fool

August 13, 2023

Nothin’ Like an Ole Fool

Walking into the farmhouse one evening I found Granddad reading his bible and he looked up at me and slowly shaking his head he said: “Nothin’ like an ole fool!” I grinned a bit as I was a young buck and certainly had all the answers! But that statement of inner reflection made an impression on me as I struggled to understand the depth of the words he had just said.

Well Granddad had a hard life and maybe you can identify with him! When his father became ill he had to come home from seminary to run the family farm which he helped carve out of wooded rocky land with hand saws and a plow pulled by his horse. His first wife died after the birth of their third child and he then remarried and had another two children. He was able to farm through the great Depression, World Wars and epidemics. He suffered with crop failures, livestock issues and losses, and equipment breakdowns. He witnessed family strive between his children that still has not healed. Through it all, he faithfully taught Sunday school for over 40 years. So, through that small glimpse of his life, what do you think he meant by that statement? With all of those battle scars one would assume a fellow like that had gained a lot of wisdom. Perhaps his hope for the future and family reconciliation to him seemed glum and he would also tell you that he was not a perfect man. But it was oblivious to me that he loved the Lord.

Some years later, I became part of a vibrant western church, the pastor told me once that his secret to building a church was: “if you are on fire for the Lord, people will come from miles around to watch you burn!” Later on in life as I needed to become a salesman for work, I soon realized that I needed to believe in what I was selling. Now there are some fork-tongued folks that can smooth talk you into believing in a lot of different untruthful things but I am not one of those, I have to believe in what I am selling! As I now proclaim myself to be a Christian, I am selling a belief in something much greater than I, an intangible, a mystery. Something strong and pure enough to just be an ole fool for! Am I on fire for the Lord? Well maybe at least how hot coals!
The Epistle this morning records St. Paul telling the church in Corinth: “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ. We are weak, but ye are strong. Ye are held in honor, but we are dishonored. Until the present hour, we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are being buffeted, and never at rest. And we toil working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we bear up; being evilly spoken of, we beseech. We became as the filth of the world, the off-scouring of all until now. (1 cor. 4:10-13)
In Ecclesiastes wise King Solomon says: “Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.” (Ec 4:13) By the grace of God and some deep cleansing I hope to be remembered one day as a fool for Christ but then I sadly remember that I still seem to be attached to this world and just a plain ordinary ole fool! 
Let me close with these words from Saint Nikolai Velimirovich: “O, may every one of us who cross ourselves with the Sign of the Cross not only find it easy to endure but with satisfaction receive the name “fool” for Christ’s sake! Let us rejoice and be glad if the non-believers call us such, for that means that we are close to Christ and far away from the non-believers. Let us rejoice and be glad and repeat with a powerful echo in the ears of the world: yes, yes, indeed we are fools for Christ’s sake! O Lord Most-wise, strengthen us by Your power that we not fear the non-believing world neither when they lash us with whips nor when they insult us with words for Your sake.“ (St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homily for February 22, Prologue of Ohrid)
Glory to Thee Oh Lord!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 8-13-2023

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