Upon returning from his first circus a young boy commented, “Once you have been to a circus you will never enjoy a prayer meeting again.” Such sentiment implies that Christianity is like going to the dentist; it is good for you but it will be a miserable experience. The stereotype of a joyless, guilt-filled religion surrounds us. It is said that a priest once said to Grouch Marx, “Grouch, I want to shake your hand for all the joy you have brought into the world.” Groucho responded, “I want to shake YOUR hand for all the joy you have taken out of the world.” It is hard to be upright without being uptight. Righteousness easily spills over into self-righteousness. It has always been that way. The religious people of Jesus’ day didn’t think the joke about the log in their eye was very funny.
A sense of humor is a matter of viewpoint and it takes work to see around the log in our own eye but it is worth it.
Laughter is good for you. While many doctors still consider cutting you up or filling you with medicine, others are using jokes and resources to stimulate laughter. Research indicates that laughter may be the best medicine. You might want to laugh a little just for the health of it. When I receive requests for speaking engagements, their most requested goal is
that they want to laugh. Now I’m not a comedienne I’m a communicator. Humor is not the end for me it is a means to an end. I discovered when making a speech that it doesn’t matter what you say if no one is listening. Humor gets people’s attention.
There is an old story about a recipe for Rabbit Pie, which begins with the instruction: You first must catch the rabbit. Humor catches one’s attention but it is more than just an attention getter. Humor and laughter indicate our attitude about life. There is a personal connectivity when people laugh at the same things you do. They recognize that they are not
alone. When laughing together you are not only reducing stress and lowering tension you are also increasing receptivity to learning life’s lessons. Many jokes are riddles. The goal of a riddle is to mystify. It asks a misleading question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed. Some are pathetic. Why is the elephant an unwelcome guest? He always brings his trunk along. Others are prophetic. How can a camel get through the eye of a needle? Humor softens the blows of life. George Bernard Shaw said that if you tell people the truth you might want to make them laugh otherwise they just might kill you. Many of the things we laugh about in life have strange twists - the unexpected reversal of traditional categories. The word “laugh” appears in the Bible for the first time in one of these unexpected twists. God informs the 100-year-old Abraham that his 90-year-old wife will give birth to a son. Abraham probably sang to her in his most romantic voice, “Mrs. Sarah you have a lovely walker,” all the while wondering how to get a bassinet into his chariot. Can’t you see Sarah trying to read the small print to see if the Mesopotamian HMO covers childbirth? No wonder they laughed. God had the last laugh when “little laughter” was born and Sarah said that anyone who heard about the birth would laugh. That is the kind of joke we love. It is the ones that head in one direction, and then reverse, and suddenly we laugh. It is best demonstrated by that humorous touch that Jesus brought to almost every situation. It’s the good laugh that comes from the sudden reversal. In humor terms, Jesus was the ultimate comic because He turned the world upside down, or actually, right side up 2000 years ago with His birth at Christmas, His death on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter. He said that the first shall be last, the proud will be humbled, the meek shall be blessed, and the greatest joke of all, the dead shall live. Laughter is not the opposite of seriousness; it is the synonym of hope.
I recently heard someone say, “I’m in the entertainment business. We are here to entertain people, to make them laugh and forget.” It is a little different for me. I hope this book makes you laugh and remember that God has the last laugh. So be of good cheer and read on!