Friday, April 1, 2011

Fool's Gold

It looks, for all it's worth, just like the real deal.  Glimmering & shimmering as it does, Fool's Gold boasts promises expected from authentic treasure. 

It flags us down along life's byway as if to hitch a ride in the direction of some worthwhile or valuable ascent.  Trouble is, it is not of the same stuff as genuine gold at all.   Trouble is, it has no value.  It cannot even keep it's own word and it's trajectory is always along the course of descent. 

In lieu of true value, the worth of Fool's Gold is constituted & concentrated in consequence; and that consequence is known as folly - - which, in turn, has even greater consequences.

Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing.
Proverbs 9:13

I dropped by Merriam's to see what he had to say on the subject. What he fleshes out for us is a not too kind a visage:

1: lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight
2a : criminally or tragically foolish actions or conduct
2b:  evil, wickedness; especially : lewd behavior
3: a foolish act or idea
4: an excessively costly or unprofitable undertaking

Even after all their mean spirited good intentions, Job's friends were lumped with the practitioners of folly, giving us a better idea about how motives & mouths factor into this business of pocketing Fool's Gold ...

My servant Job will pray for you,
and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you
according to your folly.
You have not spoken the truth about me,
as my servant Job has.” 
Job 42:8
And that's not all the ancient text has to say on the subject.  If I concentrate my eye towards the wisdom texts alone, I quickly surmise that no good thing can come of it. 

I will listen to what God the LORD says;
he promises peace
to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
Psalm 85:8

The wealth of the wise is their crown,
but the folly of fools yields folly.
Proverbs 14:24

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Proverbs 15:2

Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,
but whoever has understanding
keeps a straight course.
Proverbs 15:21

I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
 just as light is better than darkness.
Ecclesiastes 2:13

I'd like to say I've never played the fool nor engaged in folly.  But a quick inventory of it's kindreds - the alloy from which it's made - tells me different.  It is always accompanied by at least a few of these ...

  • Loud protestations & proclamations, as if shear volume or determination is the same as a gentle answer 
  • Loose lips (the kind that sinks ships)
  • Clamor, as if a lot of fuss is the same as ordered reason
  • Judging/excusing one's own, or another's folly
  • Rebellion, as if in this one instance it's the same as obedience
  • Denial; self delusion, as if truth and my take are one and the same
  • Pride, as if self-righteousness deserves a stage and audience
  • Selfishness, as if what's happening in my mind and life is all important; pivotal
  • A lack of understanding, or even a desire to have some, as if I know it all anyway
Reminder to self:  

"All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms enfold."
(Shakespeare/The Merchant of Venice)

By the way, don't try to bank that stuff - Fool's Gold - either.  It's yield accumulates into more of it's own value-less kind; and it won't pass the sniff test.  Folly never does. 

Footnote:  When I began penning this post earlier, it did not occur to me that today is April Fool's Day.  Rather an appropriate piece for so auspicious an occasion, don't you think?


Grace on the Narrow Path said...

Excellent post today my friend. You are wise ... thank you for your insightfulness.

Sonja said...

Excellent... truth... from a fellow 'gray haired' friend...

Actually, as my hubby loves to say... 'no one really has a clue as to the color of his wife's hair!'... and I intend to keep it that way!


KelliGirl said...

Perfect timing for the day!

Your post reminds me of Paul's prayer for the Philippians that they be able to "discern what is best." Not what is good, worthwhile, acceptable, better...but what is best!

Wise words from a wise woman!

Diana Ferguson said...

Great timing for sure! I enjoyed this so much....

Karen Lange said...

Hmm, so much character refinement is necessary in my life. Glad He is in charge and not me! :)

Peggy said...

I agree, a good post for April Fool's Day. I'm trying to keep my focus on Jesus and seek His wisdom and turn my back on the world's foolishness. I'm praying I can, with His help.

Beth E. said...

A perfect post for today!

Merriam's first definition for folly: 1. lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight describes the actions of my youngest son, who put his mother (a.k.a. ME) through quite an afternoon with HIS April Fool's joke. Shew...


RCUBEs said...

This post is no joke despite what we celebrate today! Profound truth! Lots to digest.

"This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength." - 1 Cor.1:25

Just a little something from Judy said...

I find deciphering in many areas of life is getting more difficult. When I read the list you shared I realized again how much I need help in relying on God to create His real gold in my life. Sadly, just like all counterfits, one needs to focus on the real gold that matters most. I am also thankful for the chipping away God does, of the fool's gold in my life. Great post!