But God has chosen people the world regards as fools to expose the pretensions of those who think they know it all, and God has chosen people the world regards as weak to expose the pretensions of those who are in power. God has chosen people who have no status in the world and even those who are held in contempt, people who count for nothing, in order to bring to nothing those who are thought to be really something, so that no human beings might be full of themselves in the presence of God. It is God’s doing that you belong to the people of the Anointed Jesus. God has made him our wisdom and the source of our goodness and integrity and liberation. So, as scripture says, “If you have to take pride in something, take pride in what God has done,”
Right up to this very moment we are hungry and thirsty and poorly clothed, cuffed around, and have no place to call home, and we are worn out by the hard work we do with our own hands. When we are abused, we bless; when we are harassed we put up with it; when we are slandered, we are conciliatory. We have been treated as if we were the scum of the earth, the filth everyone wants to get rid of, and still are.
These particular passages from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians derived from “The Authentic Letters of Paul” remind me of my own vulnerable and inadequate sense of self and who I am in God which is not contingent upon my wealth, my status, nor my academic or social success. On the contrary, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians actually shows us that though we may work hard, the acquisition of wealth and power does not bring us any closer to God. On the contrary, Paul demonstrates that the acquisition of wealth and power may hinder our connection to the mysteries of God. For the mysteries of God are not found in gold, diamonds, fancy purses or I Phones but rather in the simplicity of God’s grace.
In his letter to the Corinthians Paul reflects on his current condition as an envoy of Christ living on the brink of death in the throngs of poverty. Paul, a hard working envoy to the Nations remarks he is living as an outcast, one who is stricken with hunger and thirst. Living in the face of opposition he continues to work for the Anointed without adequate access to food and shelter. And yet, he is in a place where he can only give praise to God.
Therefore, in consideration of our current economic and global crisis, if our so called Christian nation would take some advice from one the greatest patriarchs of Christianity, we might find ourselves on a different path. A path where the acquisition of wealth no longer becomes our greatest achievement, but rather the demonstration of God’s grace becomes the prize. “For the Empire of God is not just about talk: it’s about the power that transforms the world” 1 Cor:4:20).