One of the saddest things about sin is that it robs you of a sense of delight in life. Oh, there are pleasures in sin but they are the violent, fleeting kind, not the lasting fulfillment of real joy. Sin tickles the imagination but doesn’t deliver the happiness.
The funniest things happen in church. And preachers are the funniest people I know. I don’t mean peculiar funny; I mean humorous, hilarious kind of funny. If you can get around a group of preachers who have started telling stories, it’ll do you good.
I think Jesus was a fun-loving person. Laughter is a gift from God, and I believe Jesus had a great sense of humor. People were always inviting him to dinner parties; sinners loved to be with Him. Of course, as the Creator, His very nature drew people, but I think there were other reasons too. He was a multi-faceted human being who was warm and personable, yet fully God and perfectly sinless. Wouldn’t it be great if our humor never got us in trouble?
But sometimes it does. And other times, it just happens inconveniently. Humorous moments often invade holy atmospheres. Raised in church, I’ve seen my share and heard tales time and again. I love to hear my dad and uncle talk about the funny things that happened to them in the many years they’ve served as evangelists and pastors.
I think preachers laugh for at least two reasons; they know the real Source of joy and find fulfillment in serving Him, and they have to balance out the seriousness of their work with some lighthearted fun. The old phrase about “men of the cloth” denotes a solemnity, and it is certainly true that it is a staggering responsibility to shepherd a congregation or preach to an audience who are waiting for God’s truth. But being watchmen doesn’t subtract from them the need to smile, chuckle and even indulge in a belly-laugh once in a while.
Since I’m married to a preacher, I’m glad they aren’t all starch and no fun. I’m glad for all the moments of laughter I’ve enjoyed sitting at a table with other preachers and their wives. Recently, after our church camp, my husband and I were in such a group and it was very late before the party split up. There is something so nourishing about good, wholesome humor and God intended for it to enhance our lives.
If you think I’m kidding, maybe you need to have your pastor over for dinner or a Sunday night snack. Or take him and his wife out for dinner on Friday and get them talking about funny things or things that have happened to them in church. Be prepared to laugh. And watch to see if the waitress is standing close by to get in on the fun. See what I mean? I think the servers would have stood close to Jesus’ table too.