The origin of April Fool’s Day has been lost in the antiquity of time.
The earliest recorded association between April 1st and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales written in 1392.
There is no reliable source that tells us when and where the observance of this lighthearted fool’s day began. I was surprised, however, to discover the wide range of countries that recognize and celebrate this day of jokes and foolishness – Canada, the U.K., Cypress, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, U.S.A., Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, South Korea, France.
The day is also called All Fool’s Day.
We may all have fallen victim to an April Fool’s joke or prank, but none of us like to be the object of the absurd or be designated as the fool of the day, humiliated by some stupid word or act.
But is it possible that we are really real fools?
Was the elf Puck right when in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream he surmised, “What fools these mortals be”?
There is no question but that some people are fools – real fools.
King Saul of Israel awakened one morning and opined, “I have played the fool, I have acted foolishly, I have acted like a fool and have erred greatly.”
King David lamented over the death of Abner who had pledged to help make him king over all Israel. Abner had fallen into a trap set by his enemies and though he could have escaped he was murdered and David lamented, saying, “Should Abner die as a fool dies?”
Jesus told a parable of a rich man whose buildings bulged with the products of his land. The man resolved to tear down his barns and build larger ones to store his grain and goods. And he said, “I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
But God said to him, “Fool! This night your souls is required to you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
So is the one who lays up treasures for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:19-21 ESV)
Twice the Psalmist David wrote: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
From a Biblical perspective, the man is a fool who orders his own life, does his own thing and gives no thought to his eternal future and to God Almighty.
The wise man, then, is the man who believes in God, loves him, serves, knows him and is accountable to him.
We know God in the person of His Son Who died for our sins and was buried and rose again that we can have our sins forgiven and become His child.
Prior to being slain on Jan. 28, 1956 at 28 years of age (along with four fellow missionaries) by the Auca Indians, whom he sought to win to Christ, Jim Elliot wrote, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Is yours the life of a fool or the life of the wise?
Eddie Bradley is pastor emeritus at High Way Church.