1 Corinthians 1:26-31

These last verses of Chapter one of Corinthians are a relief for most people. At first, it makes me laugh when Paul says, “Not many of you are wise, as men account wisdom; not many are influential; and surely not many are well born”(v 26).That’s me alright. I was a healthy baby, so I suppose you could say I was born well, but not noticeably well born, though God’s providence confounds this type of rhetoric as Paul goes on to give comfort.

“God chose those whom the world considers absurd to shame the wise” (v 27) Paul says. God uses the person that the world would never believe could do anything well. He chooses those who seem the least likely to be wise for proclaiming His wisdom. That is why He can work such wonders in children. He chooses the weak to display His strength. We can look around so easily and judge our neighbor. Maybe we think this person is not so smart. Or maybe we are the one being judged. Then something happens – God works through them. God always makes up for what is lacking in us.

One of the downfalls of many smart, wise or strong people is they think they are so good that they think they do not need God or that they do not need His help. This closes the door of His grace to them. They may be very wise in practical matters of balancing a budget, in building things or in politics; however, they lack a certain wisdom that goes beyond mere human thinking. Sometimes God has us do the absurd, like the prophets, and then produces His miracles. God sees all things and knows all things. Noah was building the ark for many years before the flood came. God chose the Jewish people to bring in the Messiah for the world. The word Jew came from the ancient Canaanite language which meant gypsy. The Jews were literally no people. They weren’t even a nation. They were just these nomads wandering around from place to place. This is the people God chose to work through in order to save the world. David was from the smallest of towns in the Holy Land. God always chooses the humble, because the humble are always open to God’s grace. He can actually work through them.

Has your life been a constant humble pie? If yes, this is actually good news for you then. “He chose the world’s lowborn and despised, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who were something” (v28). By worldly standards, those who have many things are the blessed ones, but in God’s eyes, those who are despised and are counted as nothing are the blessed ones. Gideon, when going to battle, had to reduce his army to a fraction of the size of his opponents (Judges 6&7). This is not a wise thing to do. And why would God choose a shepherd to lead an army? What does he know about such things? Before his calling, he was a timid person. When the Jews defeated the Midianites, they knew it was the power of God. This gave confidence for the Jewish people. The Midianites were taking advantage of the Jewish people and they were at odds at what to do about it. They were depressed about it and could see no hope. But God came to them and called them as He was calling the Corinthians (v 26).

So when God calls us to do His will, even when we are down, we should respond as well. Sometimes we are called according to our skills, but sometimes not. Sometimes He calls us because we are inept. It keeps us humble. Doing God’s will and serving Him is a gift from God. By just being there in His work, there is grace. Being chosen by God is not a testament of our greatness in skills or intelligence, rather, it is a testament of God’s greatness and mercy on His humble servants. “Let Him who would boast, boast in the Lord” (v31).