Fool or No Fool

‘A person is no fool who gives what they can’t keep to get what they cannot lose.’ Jim Elliot

I finally got the hang of Deal or No Deal. After years of walking into a room and seeing someone open a box saying 10p to massive applause I finally understand why. Basically you’re trying to eliminate all the boxes except the one containing the top prize of a quarter of a million spondulix. Along the way the banker tries to tempt you to take a way out and accept his lesser offer. I watched the recent programme when Patrick Roberts battled his way to this moment…

Patrick won the top prize of £250,000. He’s the first male to do so. One of the first things that strikes you about this box-filled tension fest is that it’s not about cleverness or brain-the-size-of-a-planet knowledge, but rather nerves of steel and incredible guts. If you can stand the heat then anyone can have a go. Wise or foolish, those with education and those without. And that’s the point where the Bible meets D or ND. All comers are welcome. It’s not like Pointless, or Mastermind or University Challenge. And it definitely does not have the oneupmaship of The Weakest Link. D or ND is a place where everyone’s rooting for you, hoping you’re going to win through. You don’t have to have the right answers, or the best look, or the smart quips. Patrick is incredibly eloquent, well able to put his thoughts and emotions into words. But you really don’t have to be.

When the church began it was a kingdom of fools, a rag tag bunch of society’s outcasts and misfits. The ever-letter-writing St Paul (Twitter loving #StPaul he’d be if he were around today) once wrote something like this in his first email to the Corinthians (ch 1 v 27) ‘God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful.’ He wasn’t the first to flag this up. Jeremiah blogged about it centuries before – ‘Let not the wise people boast of their wisdom or the strong people boast of their strength or the rich or famous boast of their money and celebrity. Instead let people boast about this: that they understand and know the living God, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for that’s what I love.’

Jesus said that when people reject the lesser offers and risk all to discover a new start with God then a party gets thrown in heaven. Not unlike the celebrations we see when Patrick wins D or ND. Perhaps if Jesus were teaching us today he might say, ‘The kingdom of heaven is a bit like a contestant on Deal or No Deal, who risked everything to win the top prize, and when he did, people cheered, whistles blew, confetti fell and there was partying everywhere.’

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