I’m writing this on April Fools’ Day, the day kids (and, yes, sometimes adults) pull pranks on each other and yell out, “April Fool!” I’ve been pranked many a time in my day, and I’ve done my fair share of pranking others as well.
One of the best pranks I’ve heard recently came from my assistant, Sandy, who told me that a friend of hers received a prank lottery ticket. It looked authentic enough and she matched the right numbers for a $5,000 prize. Sandy’s friend was so excited that she jumped up and down screaming, “I won! I won!” Even when her family told her it was a prank, she didn’t believe them and kept screaming with excitement.
The story gets better. One of the pranksters videoed the reaction and sent it into America’s Funniest Videos, and it was actually selected as a finalist for an upcoming episode to be aired this coming weekend. Since Sandy’s friend signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding the outcome of the show, let’s just say, the woman had the last laugh winning an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the entire family and receiving one of the top 3 monetary prizes. Not a bad prank.
I used to be bothered by being on the receiving end of an April Fools’ Day joke. I mean, be real, who likes to be called a fool in April or any other month for that matter? I wanted to be perceived as wise, intelligent, confident, self-assured. My identity was wrapped up in the high opinions of others and being called a fool was moving the opinion needle in the opposite direction.
The older I get, though, the more I accept that I’m almost never the smartest person in the room, or the most gifted, or the most attractive, or the most _______ (you fill in the blank). And when I say, “Almost never,” I really mean, “If I’m alone in a room with my dog, Conner, then I might be the smartest person in the room. Maybe.”
You get the point.
The reason I’m not bothered much anymore if someone calls me a fool (or worse) is because I’m finally getting it through my thick skull that my identity is not defined by someone’s opinion of me. My identity is defined by the One who created me, and He calls me His child. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
You can act foolish, look foolish, or say something foolish, and people might think you’re a fool. But your actions, looks, and speech don’t determine your identity. Yes, they can reveal your heart: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. . . . . You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 12:34; 7:16 ESV). But your name—what you are called—originates with the One who gave you life. He who made you names you.
Like the Apostle Paul, you may be called a “fool for Christ’s sake” (1 Corinthians 4:10, ESV), or you may just be called an April Fool, but either way, from one fool to another, give thanks that God’s foolishness is wiser than the wisdom of men (1 Corinthians 1:25). No foolin’.