A month ago our family returned from a lovely trip to the Disney World area of Florida. We all went together to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.
It was blazing hot, the lines in the parks were unbelievably long, but in the end we'd all say we had barrels of fun. It was a wonderful memory-making adventure, to be sure.
Since then I've thought a lot about the man behind the Disney phenomenon. Can you imagine that day so many years ago when an ambitious, young man sat down at a table full of bankers? I picture him looking them in the eye and boldly claiming, "I'm going to build a billion-dollar empire based on a mouse, a fairy, and seven dwarfs."
I can only chuckle at how those men may have reacted.
Ridiculous ideas. Foolishness. Insanity perhaps.
Yes, to many Walt Disney was a foolish man, with foolish ideas and a foolish vision. Even Walt's brother, Roy Disney (the more financially-minded one of the two), urged Walt to reign in his foolishness. And then after Disneyland was built, Roy forbade Walt to concoct any more foolish ideas.
Walt Disney was not deterred though. He continued dreaming, oblivious to how so many others considered him to be a fool.
He believed what he knew to be true way down into the core of his being, and today, because he didn't worry what others thought about him, his life is an inspiration to me.
The Bible is full of characters who were called fools, but ended up changing history for the better. Remember that one deluded engineer? That one guy who designed and built a massive boat out in the middle of the dessert? Yeah, Noah, the fool who listened to God and ultimately saved his family when every other human perished in the flood.
And then how about the lunatic, the one who acted insane to escape his captors? A fool? But wait, David became king not too long after his foolish charade - a king from whose lineage Jesus, the savior of the world, came.
Then there was that "improper" woman. The one who foolishly told everyone she'd become impregnated by God. Who says things like that? Only fools, right? Nine months later, Mary became the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, Jesus himself was willing to look foolish, and many times he did. After all, who has to go fishing to pay his taxes? Who passes out invitations to a feast that largely go unanswered? Who stands out on the porch knocking, when those inside have no interest in answering? A king?
A king, a savior who wasn't worried about how foolish he looked or sounded. He knew his Father, and he knew the Truth. He loved people so much that the possibility of appearing foolish didn't concern him.
If I claim to love others as Jesus did, how can I be worried that people might label me a fool? Are my feelings worth more than my message?
In a billion years, will I regret being a fool now for the Lord?