Holey Socks


The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. — 1 Corinthians 1:18-21, NLT

My mother once relayed a story to me of when she was a little girl and her mother found her with a pair of scissors, cutting up her socks. When asked what she was doing, my mother replied, “I’m cutting the holes out of my socks.”

As adults, we laugh at the silly logic of children. We have lived longer, experienced more, gathered more knowledge, and gained more understanding of life’s inner workings. Thus, we easily see the folly in a child’s thinking, and realize that repair won’t ever come from a pair of scissors.

Yet how does our wisdom compare to the Almighty’s? How might our cumulative scholarship stack-up to the originator of all that exists (Gen 1:1), the one who knows no teacher (Isa 40:13-14), who has named every celestial body in His colossal cosmos (Psa 147:4), and numbered the hair follicles on every head (Mat 10:30)? How might our “brilliant” brains compare to the Creator’s whose knowledge is beyond our comprehension (Psa 139:6), whose limitless ways (Psa 147:5) are beyond our understanding (Job 37:5), whose years beyond our measurements (Job 36:26)? How might our “clever” strategies crafted in the deceitful (Jer 17:9) dark (Pro 27:1; Jam 4:14) match up against the mastermind (Isa 55:8-9) of both peace and calamity (Isa 45:7), who knows and determines tomorrow (Isa 46:10), and sees all things (Heb 4:13) as the originator of light (Gen 1:3; 2Co 4:6), even into the deep recesses of human hearts (1Sa 16:7; Psa 139:1-4)?

[Reread that paragraph a few times. Spend some time contemplating the greatness of God.]

How foolish of us to think that our self-righteous good deeds could excuse our bad ones. Does a little community service pardon one of murder (Mat 5:22; 1Jo 3:15)? Yet we extend kindness to the kind, thinking we are doing God a favor (Luk 6:32-34). Our good deeds are nothing more than taking a pair of shears to filthy rags (Isa 64:6)—a belittlement of our crimes against God (Jam 2:10-11; Psa 51:4), and a contemptuous trampling upon the blood of His Son (Heb 10:29). How foolish to think we could earn enough favor to excuse our crimes by treating the sacrifice of Christ—The Way God has made for us back to Him (Rom 5:8; Act 16:30-31)—as unworthy of our attention (Act 13:46). We are simply cutting holes out of socks.

It is time for us to rightly assess the tattered remains of our life, to abandon our destructive attempts at its repair, and recognize our old life is nothing more than kindling (Mat 3:10; 1Co 3:12-15). Only then will we see the One hope we have—to cry out to the God who gives life (Deu 32:39) and is life (Joh 11:25; 14:6), and surrender to Him the things that were never ours to begin with (Isa 43:7)—our old, ragged life (Rom 6:6). Then, we can accept what we truly need—a new one (2Co 5:17; Rom 6:4; Eze 36:26).

A New Sock, A New Life
I came to my mother with a quivering lip,
The sock was done.
“I have no sock to wear, dear mother?
I’ve ruined this one.”
She took the sock, shredded and soiled
And gave me a new one, clean and unspoiled
And into my sad eyes she smiled,
“Cheer up, my child.”

I came to the throne with a trembling heart,
my life undone.
“Have you a new life for me, dear Master?
I’ve ruined this one.”
He took my life, all shredded and soiled
And gave me a new one, holy and unspoiled
And into my sad heart He smiled,
“Rejoice now, my child.”

(A rewrite of the poem “A New Leaf, A New Day” by Kathleen Wheeler)

Billy Neal

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