I’ve always loved to laugh. I seem to be able to see the funny in almost any situation, and I’m a huge fan of a well-crafted, clever joke. Of course, one-liners and puns are pretty awesome too - Have you heard the one about? But I digress…
If I give it much thought, it seems a little strange that God created us with the ability to laugh. I mean, it seems like laughing is just a bonus in life. Laughter doesn’t give us sustenance or protect us or provide for our needs. We don’t need to laugh to stay alive. Or do we?
Proverbs 17:22 tells us that, “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” In other words, laughter is an essential part of the prescription for an abundant life!
And that’s why “Indulging in Laughter” is our church’s fourth core value. We want an atmosphere of fun to permeate our lives together. It may seem like this one doesn’t quite fit with the others. It’s just not spiritual enough, right? Wrong! It’s good for your physical, emotional and spiritual health!
Now I know that not all laughter is holy. The Bible warns us about humor that is harmful, like, “…obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving (Eph. 5:4).” In other words, there are some things that we shouldn’t laugh at.
And I also know that it’s not appropriate to laugh in all situations. I’m not making light of painful circumstances, or deeply spiritual times, or sacred, holy, somber moments. But I think a lot of people might have the notion that followers of Jesus can’t have any fun. To that I say, “Hogwash!” Life is too serious and short not to laugh!
And so we as a church encourage indulging in laughter! We are going to develop and promote an environment of fun and joy when we gather. There’s going to be humor, and we’re never beyond laughing at ourselves. The life lived for God, following Jesus, led by the Spirit, is a life of joy and gladness… Let’s live like it!
I know, I can already hear the objections…
How can we be cheerful when there are so many problems in the world?
How can we laugh when eternity is at stake?
How can we have fun when there’s so much sin in this life?
My answer is, “How can we NOT!?” Because of all that God is and all He has done and all He is doing and has promised to do, how can we not be filled with joy and gladness!?
No, I get it. I don’t want to just put my head in the sand and ignore the problems. I read one study that said that a child laughs 400 times a day on average, while an adult only laughs about 15 times a day. So maybe that’s maturity… Once we grow up and know what the world is really like, it sucks out our joy…? Or maybe that’s part of what Jesus meant when He told us to be like little children… JW
God’s prescription for us isn’t that we never weep or grieve… Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there’s a time for both weeping and rejoicing. It’s not even about looking at life from a positive or a negative perspective, but from God’s perspective.
I think that a lot of Christians have forgotten that what we carry in our lives, what’s spelled out in the pages of the Bible, is GOOD news… It’s the BEST news in all the world! How in the world can the Church gather together every week to celebrate God’s love and grace and His work in the world, and not have fun doing it!? God loves you! You can have a relationship with Him! You can go to heaven! You can be pure and holy! You can accomplish amazing things for God in this world! It’s the BEST news ever!
Maybe King David summarizes it best in Psalm 30:11-12 - “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”
Because of who God is and all He’s doing, we indulge in joy and laughter!