Foolish, Weak, Lowly, and Despised

2.16.23 Devo Image

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”— 1 Corinthians 1:26–29 (NIV)

I always found it a bit odd putting together a resume. Why? Because you have to talk all about your experience, work responsibilities, awards, accomplishments, and skills, which people often, let’s say, exaggerate. Overall, your goal is to make yourself seem like the most qualified candidate out of the bunch. 

Here in 1 Corinthians, after having explained that God’s power and wisdom as revealed in Christ and His work puts to shame the collective wisdom and power of the world, Paul then hammers this idea home by pulling up their resume. He says, “Think of what you were when you were called.” What was their resume (and ours)? Well, it wasn’t anything to write home about. He says, “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” Most weren’t the best, mightiest, smartest, richest, most powerful, or influential. Most weren’t making Forbes Top 100 lists, getting MacArthur genius grants, picked first in the draft, or getting a star on the Corinth walk of fame. They weren’t “special” or “qualified.” 

As with Peter and John in Acts 4, most of the Corinthians (and us) are “ordinary men with no special training” (Acts 4:13 NLT). But that’s the amazing thing about the Lord. “God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, nor statesmen, nor men of wealth, and power, and interest in the world, to publish the gospel of grace and peace. He best judges what men and what measures serve the purposes of his glory” (Matthew Henry). 

In fact, God’s power, wisdom, and glory are often most vividly revealed through the foolish, weak, lowly, and despised. Why? Well, first it keeps us from becoming prideful and entitled, believing we’re greater, more deserving, or better and thus forgetting we’re undeserving, hopeless, and helpless, and it’s only by the mercy, power, and grace of God that we’re saved and redeemed. 

Second, His divine attributes are most clearly seen in our weakness and limitations (our shortcomings, hurts, pain, and traumas) because as He says to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV): “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Third, when people see the transformation of our lives—when they see how God is working in us, using us, and moving in and through our lives even though we’re “ordinary,” broken, and flawed just like them—then they’ll be able to see clearly that we, like Peter and John, have “been with Jesus.” And listen, while people may try to argue with you regarding doctrine, apologetics, historicity, the “validity of miracles” (His power), or biblical truth and wisdom, one thing they can’t argue against is your testimony! There’s no greater apologetic you can offer than the evidence of God’s work, power, and truth being displayed through your life. That’s why Acts 4:13 says that even though Peter and John were seen as ordinary, because of the evidence of God’s power displayed through them, there was nothing anyone could say. No arguments, no rebuttals, no denying it!

So, when you think about it, through our ordinary resumes, God demonstrates His extraordinary and miraculous resume!

Pause: Why does Paul point out that most of the Corinthians weren’t powerful, wise, or influential? What’s the importance of this? How does it apply to you?

Practice: Craft your testimony and share it with someone.

Pray: Father, thank You that even though I am lowly, foolish, weak, despised, hopeless and helpless, a wretched sinner worthy of Your righteous wrath, that You saw fit in Your infinite mercy and love to send Jesus so I may be forgiven, made clean, made new, and set free in order to not only have eternal life, but also be used in this life as a vessel for Your glory, honor, and praise! Thank You for saving me, working in me, transforming me, and using me to advance Your kingdom. I pray that each day, I would look for the many ways You are leading me to display the power and wisdom of the gospel to those who don’t yet know You. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.