On the occasion of Steve Jobs passing, the founder of “Apple”, the media riproposed some of his speeches. During his speech at Stanford University he quoted the famous message to the students: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. It was a motto he learned from a technology magazine.
This invitation to be hungry and foolish could be also caught by us christians from another point of view not related to fame and success. In the Beatitudes speech, the Apostle Matthew writes: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). In every man’s heart there’s a hunger for God, that no human being will be able to satisfy as only Jesus could say: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger” (John 6:35). The Scriptures invite those who hunger for righteousness to look up to heaven, for it’s from above that descended the One who took away the hunger from our hearts. The Apostle Paul reminds us that the preaching of the cross is foolishness and this foolishness of God is wiser than men. In what is manifested His foolishness? He has chosen the base things to bring to nothing the things that are important, he has chosen people with no culture to bring to nothing the wise. The message that Jobs was transferring to the students aimed on the ego, on the ability to invest in himself. Humanity believes that every effort will come to a result. The Scripture advises us to trust in God’s foolishness. It also invites us to not think as all other men do.
The Bible gives us many examples of men hungry for His righteousness. One of them Jacob is well known as the one who took away the blessing from his brother Esau, and after that he had to run away to his uncle Laban. He stayed with his uncle several years serving him in order to get married Rachel. He worked for her seven years, but he was mocked by his uncle: during the wedding night he found on his bed Lea, who was his uncle eldest daughter. Not happy, he arranged with his uncle to work other seven years, just to marry Rachel. Jacob was crazy about Rachel, but not only! After the years required for the ransom, for us it would have been normal receive a reward for all the work done or he would have his own independence. The patriarch proposed to Laban a kind of agreement that could seem for us a crazy act, that is he would appropriate for all the sheep who were born striped. So Jacob was a fool even in business! Since then he began grazing the flock before a reed bed, where he noticed that copulating the sheep gave birth striped lambs. Then he succeeded to put a side a large flock who became his own property, and his uncle was unable to contradict him. In everything Jacob always gave credit to the Lord.
Another crazy man was Joseph, who was honest governor in Egypt for a long term in his life. In that period, he interpreted a Pharaoh’s dream predicting a long famine for the nation. After that he showed to him a surviving project for the Egyptian people. God’s children can care about the needs of humanity. So Pharaoh was fascinated. Furthermore Joseph had wisdom underlining the need of a person who was able to carry on that project, so he nominated himself. Pharaoh trusted him. Egypt overcame it, even though there were fourteen years of famine, and Joseph had authority over all nation. The one who doesn't look for its own interests and trust in God he could be an instrument to save a people. Both Jacob and Joseph were hungry for God’s righteousness, that is the same described in the Beatitudes speech. The course of history is under God’s watchful eye and everything that happens does not go unnoticed. Each one of us can be called to play an important role in history, but not always we understand it. We should begin considering christian life not as a legacy for the future but a daily vocation becoming so instruments in God’s hands for His plans, for His church and for all humanity. In fact hunger for righteousness starts from church to reach then the needs of all humanity.
Many have been witnesses of foolishness, even closer in time periods. One of them was Benjamin Carson, who’s credited with being the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head. His career began during teens for he went through serious difficulties when his father left him. One morning, while he was in church with his eldest brother listening the preaching he understood some crucial things for his future. The pastor told about a couple of missionary doctors in Africa, so from that story he understood he wanted to do the same thing. Today he is a well known neurosurgeon and he runs mission fields all around the world, where he assists indigent patients. If we’re hungry for God and we let Him guide us beyond our abilities, He is able to do great things through us. The Apostle Paul reminds us that He shows His power in our weakness, when we're weak and surrended to Him then we find His strength.
Another example is William Wilberforce. At the age of 21 he was elected Member of the English Parliament. William was not an aristocratic, but a young man with a Christian faith and hungry for God. So much that after his election he went through an existential crisis, fearing he could not be able to be a believer in politics. He had a friend, called Isaac Milner, also inspired by God who during a trip he transferred to William the meaning to be born again and what it meant “Christ within me hope of glory”. England based its welfare on colonies, where black people were forced to work as slaves. John Newton, who was a slave trader’s son, he spent his youth on merchant ships, till he knew the Gospel and he understood that trade humiliated the Saviour, for every human being needs to see Christ in his fellow and treat him as himself: he got down from the ship and he became an Anglican pastor. When he met William he became his mentor, encouraging him to follow the politics path to fight for abolition of slavery. This saw in 1807 the abolition of slave trade. From Wilberforce's diaries we know he prayed God before he went to the Parliament: he cared about to give a service for the nation. He not only fought for the abolition of the slave trade, but also against the subjection of these men to their masters. He fought a fight that lasted twenty-six years and in 1833 there was the enactment of a law against slavery valid for the whole kingdom. After three days William died, as to say the fight was won, and that seed could die, for the glory of the Lord was showed.
God is looking for men and women who want to be instruments in His hands, to preach the gospel, and for the righteousness among the nations. Wilberforce said: “Rise on the wings of contemplation, until the praises and censures of men die away upon the ear, and the still small voice of conscience is no longer drowned by the din of this nether world.” To be instruments in God’s hands it’s important to rise on the wings of the Spirit, plug our ears, avoiding to pick up both praises and claims, and learning to listen to the Lord’s voice in our consciences.