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
I came across this verse yesterday during my class. We were supposed to be looking at another passage and I accidentally referenced this one. I was immediately struck by the first few words of this verse..."the message of the cross is foolishness". In short...it is. The message of the cross, to die to oneself...to crucify my own wants, desires and ambitions in order to take up my cross and follow him is indeed foolish.
In a world where everyone looks out for numero uno, this strange idea of self-death is quite radical. And yet...it's also frightening. What does it mean to die to myself? It would be quite simple to say that I could give money to the poor, give my time to others and put others' needs in front of my own. But I don't think I've ever been able to truly deny myself (read: my selfishness, ambitions, dreams, wants) for the sake of another person, let alone for Jesus. I've always been able to get something out of something. Serve a meal to homeless people? Get a proverbial pat-on-the-back from coworkers or friends. Volunteer to drive a single mother to her job for a week? Get compensated for mileage.
Everything seems so give-and-take and we always want to get something for our efforts.
But then this amazing nugget comes in at the end of the verse: for us who are being saved, it is the POWER of GOD. There is power in the very act of self-sacrifice. There is power in the seemingly foolish idea of taking up our crosses and following Christ.