“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
By Mary Moerbe, Lutheran author and pastor’s wife
An intelligent fool
“When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.” (Eccl. 8:16–17)
The book of Proverbs teaches us many things. There is wisdom in this world, both practical and revealed. There are ways things work and things we can strive for. At the same time, Ecclesiastes teaches us something, too: there are limits.
It is good to stretch the mind. It is good to exercise one of our most complex muscles. Still, Jesus came to fishermen. The Word of God came through common koine Greek as well as more sophisticated, literary Greek stylings.
The intellect is a funny thing. There are temptations to neglect it and also to overextend dependence upon it.
Intelligence bears gifts, but it is not the source of gifts. It is a servant, to yourself, your God, and your neighbor, yet it can seem like such an unquenchable taskmaster!
We may wonder:
“What does God remember? What fills the mind of Christ?” Then we can ask with David, “What is man that you [O Lord] are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4).
We cannot rely on our human understanding. No matter how enamored we may be with it, it cannot save us or others. Instead, the Word became flesh. It dwelt and dwells among us:
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ ” (1 Cor. 1:25–31).
You are in Christ Jesus. You are washed clean in your baptism by His Hand. You are fed His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of every sin. And, despite the tensions and temptations of this world, He is your wisdom, your hope, and, yes, even your “foolishness.” Thanks be to God!
Almighty God, remind me that You alone are my wisdom. Help me to use Your gifts in faith and love, but guide me so that no gift can displace the gift of Your Word-made-flesh in my life. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, Amen.
Mary Jackquelyn Moerbe is an LCMS deaconess, writer, speaker, and homeschooler. She and her husband, Rev. Ned A. Moerbe, have six children and live in Oklahoma.
LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.